World’s Safest Country Revealed: New Zealand Rises to Second on Peace Index

Safe as Homes: One country has topped the safe destination rankings for the past 13 years. Photo / Casie Boca, UNsplash

Safety is a key factor for travellers. This affects our vacation plans, the countries we plan to visit and – most importantly – our travel insurance.

But do we book vacations in bad faith? According to the Global Peace Index (GPI), there are plenty of long-maligned destinations that don’t deserve a bad rap. Likewise, some favorite vacation destinations have recently become less of a safe bet.

The GPI is an annual review that measures the general “quietness” of countries. It is compiled using research from the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago and a data-driven approach to rank over 160 social security destinations.

Incarceration rates, homicides, internal conflict and perceptions of crime aren’t normally the defining criteria for a holiday destination – but they are among the 23 data points the GPI has used to compile its annual report since 2008. .

It’s no surprise that since 2021, global peace has fallen by 0.3%, with pandemics and otherworldly misfortunes affecting destination safety and well-being.

In this ranking, there are islands of peace that have remained at the top of the index.

Ranking countries on a scale of 1 “safest” to 5 “least safe”, the top space hasn’t changed since records began, but New Zealand is moving up the ranks.

Safest countries: Are there any countries that don't deserve their reputation?  Photo / Timo Stern, Unsplash
Safest countries: Are there any countries that don’t deserve their reputation? Photo / Timo Stern, Unsplash

Despite the travel turmoil and pandemic-related disruptions, New Zealand climbed to second place on the list with a score of 1.253.

“New Zealand remains the most peaceful country in the region and the second most peaceful country overall in the 2022 GPI,” the report says, although this is a drop in the overall score since 2018. The country falls to 16th on the list for societal security. .

For those planning holidays in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, there is good news, as these countries are among those seeing the most improvement in their ‘tranquillity’ score.

The greatest climbers were in North Africa and the Philippines. This despite major disruptions, including the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

“As expected, the largest regional deterioration in peace was Russia and Eurasia, followed by North America,” the summary reads.

Countries becoming safer, and more dangerous, to visit in 2022. Photo/GPI 2022
Countries becoming safer, and more dangerous, to visit in 2022. Photo/GPI 2022

The executive report says improvements have been slow and gradual compared to the larger falls, which were harder to predict, “highlighting that countries tend to deteriorate much faster than they improve.”

Europe is the most peaceful region in the world, home to seven of the ten most peaceful countries.

Here are the 10 safest countries to visit:

Canada is 1.11 index points higher in the peace ranking than its US neighbours.  Photo / Sebastien Stamazal, Unsplash
Canada is 1.11 index points higher in the peace ranking than its US neighbours. Photo / Sebastien Stamazal, Unsplash

10. Canada Score: 1.33

Despite sharing a border with the United States, the North American country scores 1.11 above its larger neighbour. Despite a drop during the pandemic and an increase in reported hate crimes, the score has improved.

9. Czech Republic Score: 1.329

The Czech Republic achieves excellent results, especially for petty crime. Despite a large tourist industry, crimes like pickpocketing are not a problem in urban centers like Prague.

8. Ireland Score: 1,326

Ireland moved up three places this year. A happy and welcoming attitude and a prosperous economy have helped the country weather the jolts of the pandemic. It is 0.3 points ahead of its closest neighbors in the UK and mainland Europe.

The Czech Republic is one of the safest countries to visit.  Photo / William Zhang, Unsplash
The Czech Republic is one of the safest countries to visit. Photo / William Zhang, Unsplash

7. Switzerland Score: 1.323

Helvetians missed a spot in the top 10 in 2020. Extremely low crime rates and per capita incomes keep the social security score high. Despite this, the country has achieved a shocking score in militarization as one of the biggest arms exporters, which has increased since the start of the year.

6. Austria Score: 1,317

Austria remains in the top ten despite a sharp drop in the rankings. Domestic terror and recent incidents have pushed Vienna down the list of safe countries, despite good relations with neighbors.

Slovenia is perhaps the cheapest and friendliest country to visit in Europe.  Photo / Neven Krcmarek, Unsplash
Slovenia is perhaps the cheapest and friendliest country to visit in Europe. Photo / Neven Krcmarek, Unsplash

5. Slovenia Score: 1.315

At the end of the Alps, Slovenia has entered the top ten in 2020, with the low cost of living, crime and violence risk rates. His peaceful and happy character served him well, as Slovenia emerged on the tourism radar with its castles and lakes offering much to international visitors.

4. Portugal Score: 1,267

Since emerging from a dictatorship in 1974, Portugal has become a beacon of political stability in Europe, scoring high for contentment. Despite economic wobbles during the Eurozone financial crisis (falling to 18th most peaceful in 2014), the Mediterranean nation has stabilized and become a top destination for tourists and more than a few retirees from the countries of the eurozone.

3. Denmark Score: 1,256

Pragmatism, a well-functioning government and economic equality are the building blocks of peace in the country that gave us Lego. It is also one of the few countries in the study where women are more satisfied with their standard of living and feel safer than men.

2. New Zealand Score: 1.253

Despite some disruption of social peace and increased military spending, New Zealand remains one of the most peaceful places on earth. The extremely low index of threat of international conflict and (relatively) peaceful response to the pandemic has kept New Zealand in the top two, just behind the most peaceful nation ever…

Iceland has topped the list of the safest countries in the world since 2008. Photo/Jonathan Pie, Unsplash
Iceland has topped the list of the safest countries in the world since 2008. Photo/Jonathan Pie, Unsplash

1. Iceland Score: 1.1

“Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008,” reads the report that has given the North Atlantic the crown of the world’s safest country since the start of the records. Virtually no spending on defense and international conflict means it’s a country with few enemies. Although it has seen disruption from a booming tourist economy and pandemic disruption, the population of just 366,500 might be the smallest, safest and friendliest island in the world.

Toya J. Bell