Number 1 -- Ireland

was chosen by Lonely Planet as the World's Friendliest Country. Ireland's history is based on people working, prospering, socializing, and sometimes fighting together. Tourists can witness it firsthand by watching events like the Galway Arts Festival, complete with street performers, comedy acts and visual arts. Based on the country's falling crime rates, the people of Ireland would rather cozy up at the pub than inflict pain on visitors. In a place that has had its own share of tough times, the people have found comfort through socializing and welcoming newcomers.

Number 2 -- New Zealand

The friendliness of New Zealand is evident in how people treat each other. A visit there would likely include stops at a hip nightclub, a casino or a national park, but it would also feature a communal summertime barbeque or a relaxing evening at a bar with people of all ages. Call it foolishness or trust, but New Zealanders have a high degree of faith in their neighbors. They've been known to leave their doors unlocked and use less security in business settings than Westerners are used to (i.e. no glass between bank tellers and customers)

Number 3 -- Canada

receives over $60 billion annually from tourism, with visitors getting friendly vibes from stops in the French Canadian haven of Quebec City, the urban metropolis of Toronto, and the culturally diverse Vancouver. Canadian crime is low, in part because of a tight stance on gun control. To put things in perspective, Canadian assaults are half the frequency of what they are in America, and Canada has a murder rate that is over 60% lower than that of its southern neighbor.

Number 4 -- Australia

The Anholt Brand Index ranks countries based on culture, tourism and people. It has regularly ranked Australia at, or near, the top of its World's Friendliest Country list. Five million annual visitors and more than $6 billion dollars spent shows us that the Aussies are doing something right. It's not just the natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and the rugged Outback. The Australian government specifically seeks out visitors who want a true "experience" rather than a vacation. Part of that experience is to ingratiate visitors with the locals and make them feel welcome.

Number 5 -- Switzerland

The people of Switzerland are known for their hard work and honesty. Their friendliness is visible in their organization and consideration for tourists, with carefully crafted hiking trails and neatly polished ski resorts. With four major languages (German, French, Italian, Rhaeto-Romanic), Switzerland's population is a multi-ethnic bunch that express themselves through literature, art exhibits and food. Some of the tourists are more than happy to ski the scenic mountainside, while others might find something more social at one of the country's many youth hostels.

Number 6 -- Italy

Italy attracts close to 40 million visitors annually, which is high enough to put Italy in the top five of the most visited countries on the planet. Hospitality is visible in the comforts of an Italian bed & breakfast or a resort that dates back to the days of the Roman Republic. For a large country, Italy is still safer than most industrialized nations. Pickpockets are known to annoy, but money belts can be used for protection. The biggest safety risk in Italy might be the sun. Heatstroke can be common, but should you feel ill, many folks in this friendly country will be there to help.

Number 7 -- Fiji

With over $430 million of tourist dollars being funnelled into its economy each year, Fiji and its 300-plus tropical islands are dependent on visitors. It's no surprise then that the locals emphasize a culture that celebrates everyone, regardless of religion or country of origin. As a tourist, you can expect a welcome kava celebration from villagers and a sun-drenched stay at a beach hotel or with a village host family. Cultural events, like the Holi Festival of Colours in February and September's Sugar Festival, keep things lively.

Number 8 -- Scotland

For the 16 million people who travel to Scotland every year, they have the pleasure of meeting a nation of well-educated locals who are rich with culture and know how to have fun. The chance to play golf at St. Andrews or some cricket in Edinburgh is also an opportunity to enjoy the company of the friendly people who live there. The festive Scottish spirit is also apparent in the regular arts and musical events, like the annual Highland Festival. Though Scotland is ripe with culture and most of the locals welcome visitors, the ones who don't can lessen the experience.

Number 9 --The Netherlands

Amsterdam receives 7 million international visitors every year. Violent crimes are low here, but pickpockets can be bothersome. What's most appealing about Amsterdam out of all the friendly countries on this list is that this place loves to have fun. In the city on the water, one of the main hooks that brings people together is dance. Amsterdam has a host of discos and dance halls that bring out fancy footwork from tourists and locals alike.

Number 10 -- Germany

Tourists in Germany become connected to the country's warm and cultured atmosphere through numerous museums, classical opera houses and big-scale events like the Oktoberfest fair. Germany is a large country with a fair amount of crime (incidents of aggravated assault have risen 30% in a seven-year period). Nevertheless, Germany's violent crime index is still lower than in the U.S., and most of its other crime rates are falling. If Germany maintains its friendliness and increases its safety, it will be that much more enjoyable.

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AN ASIAN TRAVELER, Exploring Around Asia!