Friendly Vs Unfriendly Countries

This post is purely based on my anecdotal experience as a Canadian tourist, student, and entrepreneur. I think I’m a fairly “low risk” Canadian tourist. Based on my experiences, I find certain countries to be much better to travel to than others where you are treated reasonably by border security.

The following is a list of countries that are friendly to travel to as a Canadian:

  • Canada
  • Thailand
  • Hong Kong
  • Macau
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Panama
  • Switzerland
  • United Arab Emirates
  • France
  • Netherlands

I’m neutral on the following countries:

  • Colombia – While my experience was fine, it appears that it may have become less friendly to Canadians.  (Effective December 1st, 2014, Colombia will begin charging a reciprocity fee to citizens of Canada arriving at an airport in Colombia. The fee of approximately $88 CAD (or 160.000 Colombian pesos) per person is valid for a single entry into the country, and is payable by international credit card or debit card.).
  • Israel (While my experiences have been fine, I’ve heard stories from others)

The following are some countries that may need improvement:

  • United Kingdom  (eg. aggressive questioning to a low risk tourist who has a Youth Mobility Visa)
  • United States (eg. second rounds of questions to low risk tourist who has a Visa)

Note: Some of my experiences with the above countries have been fine and I completely understand their rationale behind screenings but I think that having to wait an extra 10 minutes-1 hour is a significant inconvenience.

While I like the countries visited above, I’d feel like a more comfortable travelling to them as a tourist if they were friendlier. Further, investors and entrepreneurs who create jobs want to feel comfortable travelling to their desired country and will be a lot more hesitant to create opportunities in a country that are unfriendly.

I think countries most countries want to attract tourists and entrepreneurs. I was particularly impressed by a few Asian countries where you can use a tablet display to rate your travel experience through border security and your overall airport experience.