PHL slips 5 notches in tourism ranking

Heavy traffic and poor transport infrastructure caused the Philippines to decline by five notches in the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) tourism-competitiveness ranking.

Based on the Travel and Tourism (T&T) Competitiveness Report 2017, the WEF ranked the Philippines 79th out of 136 economies, from 74th out of 141 economies in 2015.

The WEF expressed concern that, if left unaddressed, “these factors may not have had their full effect yet, and may reduce tourism activity in the future”.

“This country attains a lower competitiveness performance this year due to a more restrictive visa policy that reduces its openness performance; a reduction of the government budget dedicated to the development of the T&T [travel and tourism] sector by almost half; and reduced efficiency of ground transport,” WEF said.

Apart from transportation and budget issues, security concerns continued to cast a dark shadow over the country’s travel and tourism potentials.

WEF said another issue is the government’s weak environmental policies that threaten the country’s natural resources, one of the, if not the main, assets for attracting tourists.

The report also stated that there are issues surrounding the protection of property rights, less effective judicial system and stricter rules on foreign direct investments that have reduced the conduciveness of the business environment.

“Although the Philippines’ s T&T potential remains high, there are several areas where policy interventions could help to regain competitiveness,” the WEF said. In the rankings, the Philippines trailed behind the rest of the Asean 5. Singapore ranked 13th overall, followed by Malaysia at 26th; Thailand, 34th; Indonesia, 42nd; and Vietnam, 67th.

The top 3 in the overall ranking are Spain, France and Germany, which, the WEF said,
have secured their position thanks to world-class natural and cultural resources, outstanding infrastructure and hospitality services.

Traditional strong T&T destinations, which include Japan (fourth), the United Kingdom (fifth), the United States (sixth, down two places), Australia (seventh), Italy (eighth), Canada (ninth) and Switzerland (10th), have also made it in the top 10.

The WEF said that, while advanced economies dominated the top spots in the ranking, 12 of the top 15 most improved countries are emerging markets in Asia.

Asia’s largest markets are not only becoming larger source markets but also more attractive destinations. Almost all of the region’s countries improved their ranking.

Except for Japan, Hong Kong, China, Republic of Korea and Malaysia also
made it to the top 30. India made the largest leap in the top 50 or an increase of up to 12 places to land in 40th place.

“The rise of Asia’s giants shows that the Asian Tourism Century is becoming a reality,” said Tiffany Misrahi, community lead of the Aviation, Travel and Tourism Industries, WEF. “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.”




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