New data by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has identified the world’s most tourism-ready nations in 2019, and Australia ranks well inside the top ten.
Last released two years ago, WEF’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report measures “the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the Travel & Tourism (T&T) sector, which in turn, contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country”.
Within this framework, each country is gauged by its business environment, safety, health, openness, value, transport infrastructure and natural and cultural resources, among other factors.
Equal with Canada and Italy, Australia finished as the seventh most attractive destination, behind world leader Spain, France, Germany, Japan, the US and the UK.
Claiming the top spot in the biannual index for the third straight time, Spain was seen to have excelled in natural and cultural resources as well as infrastructure “having spent millions of euros in the past decade on updating roads, railways and airports”.
“As international connectedness continues to rise, we see travel and tourism competitiveness continue to grow,” says Christoph Wolff, Head of Mobility, World Economic Forum.
“Increased tourism is bringing great benefits to many economies but must be managed properly by both policymakers and businesses for a sustainable future.”
According to the report, travel and tourism’s contribution to global GDP (now 10%) is forecast to rise by up to 50% over the next 10 years.
However, “growth in tourism-friendly infrastructure – roads, ports, airports and hotel accommodation, for example – has languished at only 1.4%”.
The report also found that “wherever large numbers of tourists go, difficulties soon follow”, as evidenced by the rise in anti-tourism sentiment in hotspots like Venice and Barcelona, and the closure of popular beaches in Thailand and the Philippines.
“The surest way for a country to benefit from its tourist industry”, the report explains, “is to invest in infrastructure that keeps the needs of local residents as well as visitors in mind”, along with “encouraging visitors to come at off-peak times, consulting residents about tourism-related policy decisions, and charging visitors a fee for entry”.
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