New Delhi: India has jumped 12 places to 40th rank globally in travel and tourism competitiveness list by World Economic Forum.
India is one of the countries that improved the most as it gained 12 places in Asia, but lagged behind its other Asian peers like Japan and China which were ranked way ahead at 4th and 13th place, respectively. Spain is ranked at the top in the list.
“India continues to enrich its cultural resources, protecting more cultural sites and intangible expressions through UNESCO World Heritage lists, and via a greater digital presence,” WEF said in its Global Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017.
Some of the factors that helped India climb up the ladder include international openness through strong policies such as implementing visa on arrival and e-visas, and improvements in the country's ground transport infrastructure which benefited the travel and tourism sector in the country, it added.
India has seen continued growth in international arrivals over the past 15 years, reaching the 8 million mark in 2015, WEF said, adding the country's vast cultural and natural resources, and its price competitiveness advantage also attracted international tourists.
The report, however, noted that though health conditions are improving, they remain “inadequate”. Similarly, ICT readiness, security concerns and human resources are improving, but remain “weak”.
“While further improvements are needed across these dimensions, India is taking small but important steps in the right direction,” WEF said, adding that the Indian travel and tourism sector presents significant opportunities that are yet to be reaped, especially in the provision of tourist service infrastructure, and in terms of additional accommodation capacity and entertainment facilities.
In the ranking Spain, France and Germany were ranked at the top three positions, making them the most tourism friendly economies.
Traditional strong travel and tourism destinations, including Japan (4th), the United Kingdom (5th), the United States (6th), Australia (7th), Italy (8th), Canada (9th) and Switzerland (10th), have also made it to the top 10.
While advanced economies still hold the top slots, 12 of the top 15 most improved countries are emerging markets.
“The rise of Asia's giants shows that the Asian Tourism Century is becoming a reality. To reach their potential, the majority of countries still have more to do, from enhancing security, promoting their cultural heritage, building their infrastructure and creating stronger visa policies,” WEF Community Lead of the Aviation, Travel and Tourism Industries Tiffany Misrahi said.
These results are of significant importance as tourism helps economic growth and job creation up to 1/10th of global GDP and jobs are tourism-related, WEF noted....