This GCC country is one of the friendliest in the world

While study finds two other Gulf states are the least friendly on the planet.

Neil Churchill November 16, 2015

Anyone who goes to Oman always comes back saying the same thing: the local people are incredibly friendly.

Well that matter of opinion can now officially be called a fact, as a study has put Oman in the top 10 friendliest countries in the world. 

Placed seventh in InterNations’ Expat Insider survey, the Gulf country is beaten only by Myanmar, Mexico, Portugal, Ireland, Colombia and Ecuador. 

However, it’s not such great news for two other GCC countries. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia came in at the very bottom of the report, placed in 64th and 63rd positions.

The survey looked at the friendliness of a local population, with a focus on behavior towards expats and foreigners. InterNations polled more than 14,300 expatriates representing 170 nationalities and living in 195 countries or territories.

Myanmar ranked first with 94 per cent of foreigners in the country giving the friendliness of the local people a positive rating. The global average was 72 per cent.

While Oman came a very respectable seventh, Bahrain also claimed a high position in 17th, while the UAE came 24th. Qatar came 58th. But elsewhere in the Gulf, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia placed at the opposite end of the scale, in last and second to last places. 

According to the survey, the local populations of both countries are considered to be very unfriendly towards expats and foreigners. In Kuwait, 13 per cent of those polled find the friendliness of the local population to be very bad, with over 53 per cent rating it negatively. 

The report suggests that the unfriendliness of Kuwait’s local population might be one of the factors explaining why 61 per cent of those polled described their personal circle of friends as consisting mostly of other expats.

The survey also said that the Arab Gulf states are the countries where expats are the least likely to have local residents as friends. Although Malte Zeeck, InterNations founder & co-CEO, said this may be down to the international makeup of the populations, rather than friendliness.

“Expats having friend groups consisting mostly of other expats in…the Arab Gulf states is not surprising considering that…an overwhelming 80 per cent of the UAE’s population are foreign-born residents.”