New Zealand has been named the 13th safest country in the world for holidaymakers to visit.

The safety and security rating was one section of a biennial report from the Geneva-based World Economic Forum.

The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report ranked 136 countries on factors and policies that influence the travel and tourism sector and contribute to a country's development and competitiveness.

Finland was named the safest country in the world for holidaymakers, followed by the UAE and Iceland, which scored second and third place respectively in the ranking, which looks at the extent to which a country exposes tourists and business to security risks including violence and terrorism.

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Finland topped a report into the safest countries to visit. Photo / 123RF
Finland topped a report into the safest countries to visit. Photo / 123RF

Shockingly, the United Kingdom languishes in 78th place below Zimbabwe in 60th. And despite its popularity as a top tourism destination, the United States limps in at 84th.
Oman took fourth place, followed closely by Hong Kong, Singapore and Norway in fifth, sixth and seventh place respectively.

Switzerland scored eighth, Rwanda soared to ninth and Qatar rounded out the top 10.
The safety and security rating was one section of a biennial report from the Geneva-based World Economic Forum. The risk of becoming a victim to petty crime was not included in the category.

The least safe destination in the world was revealed to be Colombia, followed by war-torn Yemen and El Salvador. Popular holiday spot Egypt ranked 130th, followed by politically tumultuous Venezuela in 131st, then Nigeria in 132nd and Pakistan 133th.

Spain, meanwhile, has been crowned the world's most tourist-friendly country in the report thanks to its cultural and natural offerings, along with its top tourism infrastructure.

Spain was among the top-ranked countries. Photo / 123RF
Spain was among the top-ranked countries. Photo / 123RF

Despite the terrorist atrocities that have blighted France in recent years, it defeated its European rivals to take second place, buoyed by its cultural strengths.

Germany took third place, Japan soared into fourth, from ninth in 2015, and the UK retained fifth place.The US claimed the sixth spot, followed by Australia at seventh, then Italy, Canada and Switzerland in eighth, ninth and 10th place respectively.

Each country receives a score in categories from hygiene and information technology to safety and security, and the final ranking is determined by an average.

War-torn Yemen ranked bottom of the report, followed by Chad, Burundi and the Congo.
Europe had the strongest travel and tourism competitiveness in the world welcoming 1.2 billion international visitors in 2016. Its advantage is attributed to strong health and hygiene standards, cultural richness and safety.

Japan topped the list of the most improved countries followed by Azerbaijan and Tajikistan. Japan was rated highly due to its unique cultural appeal. It was noted that it is an excellent destination for business travel.

The report found that outbound travel from Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific is expected to boom in the coming decade.