Adventure tourism is a small but significant part of the industry. Although what defines an adventure can be subjective, a study by George Washington University in the District of Columbia placed adventure tourism into three categories: physical activity, cultural exchange and interaction with the environment.

The 2020 Best Countries rankings, formed in partnership with BAV Group, a unit of global marketing communications company VMLY&R, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, are based on a survey that asked more than 20,000 people from four regions to associate 73 countries with specific characteristics. The Adventure subranking is based on an equally weighted average of scores from five country attributes that relate to adventure found within a country: friendly, fun, pleasant climate, scenic and sexy. The Adventure subranking had a 2{143106009d8b87d45252e1fd973f0c0835ad3aabba3679e828c3cd83539ae06c}t weight in the overall Best Countries ranking.

For the fifth consecutive year, Brazil ranks No. 1 overall for being a country offering the greatest adventure. The largest country in South America is one of the most heavily visited in the world by tourists. Its sprawling coastline draws local residents and tourists to beaches. The annual Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, held before Lent every year, is one of the largest festivals in the world and is the most public display of how deeply rooted music and dance are in the nation’s culture. Among the attributes that factor into countries’ rank in Adventure and Best Countries overall, Brazil was rated No. 1 in being both a fun and a sexy place.

A country’s financial health had little impact on the ranking. Italy, Spain and Greece – three Southern European countries weathering economic challenges – were ranked in the top five countries for adventure. At No. 5, Thailand rounds out a top five that remains unchanged from last year. Portugal and Australia rose in the rankings, while Mexico saw a notable drop.

Survey respondents said Spaniards are the friendliest people among the 73 countries assessed, while Greece is viewed as having the best climate. New Zealand, with its North Island shaped by subtropical landscapes and its South Island dominated by the volcanic Southern Alps, is considered the most scenic country on the list.

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