Sri Lanka climbed 11 notches to rank 63rd out of 141 countries in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015 of the World Economic Forum. It ranked 74 in the 2013 report.
The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, published every two years, measures the impact of policies and other factors that contribute to the sustainable development of the travel and tourism industry.
The report ranks 141 countries against 90 indicators grouped under 14 separate dimensions in four key subindices - enabling environment; policy and enabling conditions; infrastructure; natural and cultural resources - revealing how well countries could deliver sustainable economic and societal benefits through their travel and tourism sector.
Sri Lanka ranked well in Prioritization of Travel and Tourism (30th) and Natural Resources (35th) but did poorly in ICT readiness (92nd) and Environmental Sustainability (103rd). It also ranked lower in Human Resource and Labour Market (86th), Tourist Service Infrastructure (74th) and Air Transport Infrastructure (71st).
Spain was number one, followed by France, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia, Italy, Japan and Canada respectively within the top ten in the report.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia (7th) was the most ‘tourist-ready’ country, followed by Japan, Singapore (11th), Hong Kong, New Zealand, China, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. United Arab Emirates came tops in the Middle East whilst it ranked at number 24.
In South Asia India ranked 52nd, Nepal 102nd, Pakistan 125th and Bangladesh 127th.
“The diversity in the top 30 shows that a country does not have to be wealthy to have a flourishing tourism sector,” said Roberto Crotti, Economist at the World Economic Forum. “But many countries should still do more to tackle travel and tourism challenges, including visa policies, better promotion of cultural heritage, environmental protection and ICT readiness. This in turn would drive economic growth and the creation of jobs.”
The report also identifies areas where tourism-oriented economies could do better in adapting to changing global trends as well as growing market segments. These include a growing number of middle class travellers from emerging and developing countries, senior consumers and millennials. It also finds a need for travel-reliant economies to adapt faster to online services and marketing, as mobile internet continues to define the way travellers select, plan and review their trips.
The global travel and tourism sector, which already accounts for almost one-tenth of global GDP, grew at an average of 3.4% per year over the past four. This compares favourably with the global economy, which grew at only 2.3% per year, indicating the sector’s resilience to economic shocks. In the coming five years, growth in the sector could accelerate to 5.2% per year, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.