SINGAPORE – The World Economic Forum released the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015, naming the top 10 most tourism-ready nations in the world, a list dominated by European economies.
Out of the 141 economies ranked, Spain ended up in the first place, followed by, in order, France, Germany, United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia, Italy, Japan and Canada.
The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report assesses the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the Travel & Tourism sector, which in turn contribute to the development and competitiveness of a country.
It assessed 141 economies against 90 indicators grouped under 14 dimensions that, in turn, are subsumed under four key subindices, namely: enabling environment; policy and enabling conditions; infrastructure; as well as natural and cultural resources.
In releasing the report, the World Economic Forum said that despite the challenges faced by the global travel and tourism industry, it is notable that the T&T sector has actually continued to grow over these past years.
International tourist arrivals reached a record 1.14 billion in 2014, 51 million more than in 2013, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates that the T&T sector now accounts for 9.5% of global GDP, a total of US$ 7 trillion, and 5.4% of world exports.
“Encouraging the development of the T&T sector is all the more important as the T&T industry continues to play a key role as a driver of growth and job creation, growing at 4% in 2014 and providing 266 million jobs, directly and indirectly. This means that the industry now accounts for one in 11 jobs on the planet, a number that could even rise to one in 10 jobs by 2022,” the WTTC said.
For Southeast and Southern Asia, Singapore turned out to be the most tourism-ready nation, followed by Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Vietnam, Bhutan, Lao PDR, Nepal, Cambodia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The top five performers in the Asia-Pacific are among the region’s more advanced economies: Australia (7th), Japan (9th), Singapore (11th), Hong Kong SAR (13th) and New Zealand (16th).
However, the most significant growth in international arrivals is observed in South-East Asia, thanks in part to its region’s price competitiveness and the rapid expansion of its middle class.
Developing regional cooperation on visa policies could further boost tourism, though investments are also needed in digital connectivity, infrastructure and protection of rich but depleting natural capital. – BusinessNewsAsia.com