Reveals World’s Most Welcoming Places

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

A riad in Casablanca -- alternative accommodations are growing in popularity.’s 2018 Guest Review Awards revealed the most welcoming countries, destinations and accommodations, according to customer reviews.  

The top three countries that received the most awards cumulatively were Italy in the top spot, followed by Spain and France close behind. The United States came in fifth and Canada did not make the top 10.

Eight European countries dominated the top 10 ranks for being the most welcoming in the world, in addition to New Zealand and Taiwan. Canada’s own Niagara on the Lake was ranked as one of the most welcoming destinations, gaining a spot among other friendly places like Newport, U.S., Goreme, Turkey and Slunj, Croatia. says that this information “is especially relevant for the 73% of global travellers that say friendly and interesting locals are one of their top considerations when selecting a destination for their next trip.”

The survey also showed a clear consumer preference for the alternative accommodation segment that offers unique stay experiences – rentals like bed and breakfasts, farms, riads, ryokans, igloos and boats.

While hotels came in as the second-awarded accommodation type, nearly three quarters of all the winning properties were homes, apartments and other unique places to stay. 

“No matter the type, size or location of the property, what we see from our customers is that they value a human connection when they travel, whether it’s some extra attention to detail or a truly individualized approach to service,” says Olivier Grémillon, Vice President at “With these awards, we celebrate and thank all of the amazing accommodation providers who create special travel experiences for our customers on a daily basis.”

This trend towards unique accommodation experiences is also reflected in research conducted by, where of the 21,000 travellers surveyed across 29 countries, more than a third said they prefer to stay in a vacation rental (holiday home or apartment) over a hotel in 2019. 

In addition to that, with 43% of travellers also wanting to stay in an accommodation type they’ve never experienced before in 2019, says the consumer demand in this segment remains strong.

Bruce Parkinson

Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief

An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.

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