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Canada’s shiny happy people: survey ranks us 2nd in world for friendly locals

As if mountains and Mounties and our 150th birthday party next year weren’t enough, now the world has another reason to visit Canada. A survey from Booking.com finds that Australia is the only country in the world with a reputation for friendlier and ­­­happier locals than Canada.

Respondents in the survey were asked to name the planet’s cheeriest and most relaxed locals. Australia came first with mentions by 35 % of respondents, followed by Canada (33), Italy (29), Spain (25), the U.S. (24), Thailand (20), Japan (20), France (20), New Zealand (20) and Brazil (19).

Engaging locals such as Bruce Fuller, pictured here at Rustico Winery in British Columbia, help make Canada a friendly haven for travellers. JIM BYERS PHOTO

Engaging locals such as Bruce Fuller, pictured here at Rustico Winery in British Columbia, help make Canada a friendly haven for travellers. JIM BYERS PHOTO

The survey of travellers around the world found that 35% feel that staying with locals makes them happiest, which is great news for Air BnB and other home-sharing businesses. Twenty four per cent of those surveyed said meeting new people makes them happy and 47% said they get along better with their partner or family when on holiday.

Travellers say delicious local food, like this dish served at the Conrad Hotel New York, is a big part of making them happy with their holidays. JIM BYERS PHOTO

Travellers say delicious local food, like this dish served at the Conrad Hotel New York, is a big part of making them happy with their holidays. JIM BYERS PHOTO

Asked to name their top 10 ingredients for the happiest holiday, 48% said delicious local food was the best thing. An equal number said perfect weather, which is a lot harder to order. Breath-taking scenery was listed by 45% of respondents, followed by amazing accommodations (38), smooth travel (37), travelling with a partner (36), travelling with family (34), ticking off a new country (26) and immersion in the local culture (25).

Asked what makes them most happy about where they stay, 80% answered a comfortable bed, followed by 60% who said a picturesque view. Next were free Wi-Fi (52), nice toiletries (39), soft pillows (35), a great room service menu (28), a waterfall shower (25), a free bottle of wine upon arrival (21), plenty of coat hangers and wardrobe space (17) and mood lighting (13).

A comfortable bed is one of the most important things travellers look for on the road. PHOTO COURTESY HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS

A comfortable bed is one of the most important things travellers look for on the road. PHOTO COURTESY HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS

“If you find yourself around positive people, you have an increased likelihood of experiencing the world in a positive way as well, which is why friendly locals can have such a significant impact on travel experiences,” said author and “happiness expert” Shawn Achor. “In addition, this is why we should be encouraged to do rejuvenating activities like go travelling, because when we are more positive, it is easier for other people around us to choose to be positive as well.”

“The research shows just how much emphasis people place on the people they meet and experiences they have when they go away to make the perfect trip,” said David Mau, director of product at Booking.com.”

THIS ITEM ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON DEC. 15 IN POSTMEDIA PUBLICATIONS ACROSS CANADA, INCLUDING WWW.CANOE.COM/TRAVEL

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