India climbs 6 places to 34th place in the world travel and tourism competitiveness index: EMF report

NEW DELHI: India has risen six places to take 34th place in the world travel & tourism competitiveness index, driven by rich natural & cultural resources & strong price competitiveness, a WEF report He said Wednesday.

India's ranking improved from 40 to 34, the biggest improvement compared to 2017 among the top 25 percent of all countries classified in the report.

"India, which accounts for the majority of South Asia's T&T ( travel & tourism ) GDP, remains the sub-region's most competitive T&T economy, moving up six places to rank 34th globally," the report said.

As per the report, China, Mexico, Malaysia, Thailand, Brazil & India -- which are not high-income economies but rank in the top 35 in the overall list -- stand out in the Cultural Resources & Business Travel Pillar through their combination of rich natural & cultural resources & strong price competitiveness.

"India showed the greatest percentage improvement to its overall Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) score, which has helped it become the only lower-middle income country in the top 35," the report said & lauded its natural & cultural assets & price competitiveness.

From a sub-regional perspective, the nation (India) has better air infrastructure (33rd) & ground & port infrastructure (28th), international openness (51st) & natural (14th) & cultural resources (8th).

Compared to global benchmarks, the country can also add price competitiveness (13th) to its list of strengths, the report said.

"India also greatly improved its business environment (89th to 39th), overall T&T policy & enabling conditions (79th to 69th), infrastructure (58th to 55th) & information & communications technology (ICT) readiness (112th to 105th)," it noted.

However, India still needs to enhance its enabling environment (98th), tourist service infrastructure (109th) & environmental sustainability (128th), the report said.

The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), that covered 140 economies, measures the set of factors & policies that enable sustainable development of travel & tourism sector which contributes to the development & competitiveness of a country.

Spain held on to the top spot in the World Economic Forum's (WEF) latest Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report (TTCR), which ranked 140 countries on their relative strengths in global tourism & travel .

Spain was followed by France, Germany & Japan, with the United States replacing the UK in the top five.

Others in the top 10 list include the United Kingdom at the 6th place, Australia (7th), Italy (8th), Canada (9th) & Switzerland (10th).

The report further added that Asia-Pacific was one of the fastest-growing travel & tourism regions in this year's ranking.

Japan remains Asia's most competitive travel & tourism economy, ranking 4th globally, while China is by far the largest travel & tourism economy in Asia-Pacific & 13th most competitive globally (up two spots).

The Philippines has shown an improvement, climbing four places to be ranked 75th worldwide.

Pakistan (121st) remains the least competitive country in South Asia when it comes to T&T, including the region's least favourable safety & security (134th) conditions.

The biennial study showed resilient growth in travel & tourism sector, with scores rising in most countries, but also warned of an approaching 'tipping point', where factors like less expensive travel & fewer tourist barriers increase demand to unsustainable levels.

"Countries must look beyond their short-term gains from travel & tourism to ensure a positive future for their economies. Travel & tourism can drive economies, but only if policy-makers ensure proper management of their tourism assets, which requires a holistic, multistakeholder approach," said Lauren Uppink, Head of Aviation, Travel & Tourism at WEF.

The 140 economies were ranked in four sub-indexes: enabling environment, travel & tourism policy & enabling conditions, infrastructure, & natural & cultural resources. Together, these four sub-indexes include a total of 14 pillars, which are used to score a country's overall travel & tourism competitiveness.