The World Economic Forum’s 2013 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, which put the spotlight on tourism industries around the globe, rated New Zealand the second friendliest country, behind frosty but warm-hearted Iceland. It’s also peace-loving, and therefore safe. The Vision of Humanity website ranks New Zealand in fourth spot on its Global Peace Index, taking into account a long list of factors including perceived criminality, homicides, access to weapons and violent crime. Iceland topped this index as well, but then when you turn to the Happy Planet Index, showing the extent to which people in 151 countries across the globe live long, happy and sustainable lives, New Zealand ranks in 28th place with Iceland consigned to the deep freeze 60 places behind. This last index boldly inserts Cuba, Pakistan, Albania and Bangladesh in its happy top 20, which stretches credibility somewhat, but the conclusion is there for all to see. If you want safe, friendly and happy, it’s over the Tasman you must go. The only other contender is Austria, which also scores well on the Global Peace Index – number three – and for friendliness – in fifth spot .

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