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).
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.
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).
“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