The Top 100 Countries index uses
the following criteria, all of them from independent and reputable
Popularity (number of tourists per year)
Number of things to see and do
Value for money
Number of World Heritage Properties
Safety and security
Quality of the health system
Quality of the environment
Personal and economic freedom
The Top 100 Countries index does
not cover things like excitement level, the tastiness of the local cuisine, or
the ease or cost of travel to these destinations (which will vary according to
your starting point). Nor does it look at a range of other subjective factors.
Travel is the most personal of experiences, and individual tastes cannot be
quantified. But we believe the ten factors we have chosen give a good
indication of the relative merits of each country, based on the criteria that
are important to most travelers.
The rating methodology and
sources are explained in Appendix 1, and Appendix 2 ranks every country by each
criterion. The book does not cover countries in the order of preference, though
there is an overview in Chapter 1.
The main body of the book is
structured according to the regions of the world, looking at most countries
individually, even those that are not rated. It is intended as a guide to help
you work out which countries you might visit. We look at the best things to see
and do, and at each country's history and culture.
The description of each
country is accompanied by its detailed score in the Top 100 Countries rating,
for each of the ten criteria, plus other things like the level of tourist
infestation. The ratings help us see the pros and cons of each destination.
Different people like different things, but by using this rating system we have
tried to give an objective analysis of each country.
For major destinations, like
the USA, Europe's 'Big Five', China and Japan, we go into some detail, breaking
our descriptions down by the regions of that country. Some places are mentioned
only briefly, and most unrated countries are skimmed over – they are simply not
very good places to go. But India, for example, gets a detailed listing,
despite its low score, because it is so big and so interesting