Since 2012, the United Nations has been studying "global happiness" and ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels in its World Happiness Report. The 2016 report was released earlier this year, and unsurprisingly, the 13 countries that dominate the upper ranks have been on the top spots since 2012!
According to the National Geographic, these countries possess this winning formula: good governance, strong sense of community, respect for fellow citizens, and high quality of life, all good things that should attract travelers and tourists, too.
“The people are friendly, they are likely to give good customer service, and from my personal experience, they are wonderful places to travel,” says John Helliwell, a contributing author to the report.
From the top 10, we’ve chosen five as our dream destinations for Pinoy family vacations.
Australia sits at #9 on the list of the world’s happiest countries, and, it’s a great place to take the kids. It has very low levels of pollution and friendly locals. The Lonely Planet describes Australia as “built for family travel,” and the country is best enjoyed outdoors. Visit their many beaches, go wildlife watching, relax at their national parks and so much more. Don’t forget your binoculars!
2. New Zealand
The island country of New Zealand sits snugly as the world’s eighth happiest country. It has low levels of population and is one of the most biodiverse islands in the world with the locals working hard to make sure it stays that way. They take pride in their local ecology. New Zealand has many accessible options for exploring the great outdoors on foot whether it be in mountains, forests or coastlines. You can also go to a zoo and wildlife park and see the elusive kiwi bird. Fan of the Lord of the Rings? Visit the Hobbiton Movie Set!
Canada ranks at #6 on the happiness chart, and is one the most culturally diverse countries in the world, too. In fact, the country is no stranger to Filipinos with over 721,000 currently residing there now. Being the second largest country in the world, there’s lots to do in Canada. Take the kids to see the Niagara Falls, visit the Vancouver Aquarium in the 1,000-acre Stanley Park, and, of course, go see some moose in the snow.
Despite Finland having a population of only 5.2 million, its citizens are happy and content as their homeland places #5 on the list. Finland is known for its traditional Finnish saunas but they have a lot to offer kids too. Little kids will love Moomin World (from the beloved Swedish chracters) and Väski Adventure Island (a pirate’s paradise where goats roam free). Finns are one of the world’s largest consumers of ice cream so don’t miss out on sampling a cold cone delight. And, to really feel you’re in Finland, rent out one of Finland’s many, many homey cottages.
Right at the top of the list at #1 as the world’s happiest country is Denmark. The official tourism site of Denmark describes the Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen as a must-visit for all visitors of the city, both young and old. Watch the video above and be convinced. Plus, kids should definitely not miss the original LEGOLAND park in Billund as well. There’s also The Blue Planet, Northern Europe’s largest aquarium; three-Michelin-starred The Old Town in Aarhus to experience Denmark in the old days; and the Copenhagen Zoo.