Switzerland has competitive edge in tourism stakes

Scenic Switzerland

Switzerland, Austria and Germany have the most attractive environments for developing the travel and tourism industry, according to the second annual Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2008, released recently by the World Economic Forum.

Australia, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden, Canada and France complete the top10 list.
“The dependence of tourism on the quality of the natural environment leads national governments and the tourism industry to focus increasingly on environmental protection,” said Thea Chiesa, head of aviation, travel and tourism at the World Economic Forum.
In this context, this year’s report under the theme Balancing Economic Development and Environmental Sustainability, places a particular focus on the issue, both through a reinforced environmental component of the index used to measure travel and tourism competitiveness and through topics covered by the analytical chapters.
Improvements have been made to the travel and tourism competitiveness index (TTCI) this year. The “environmental regulation” pillar has been revised and improved as well as being re-named the “environmental sustainability” pillar to better reflect its components and to capture the increasingly recognised importance of sustainability in the sector’s development.
Also, last year’s single pillar – natural and cultural resources – has been broken into its two subcomponents to create the two distinct pillars of “natural resources” and “cultural resources”. This provides a more nuanced and useful description of the strengths and weaknesses of countries. The model also uses better data proxies for some variables and includes a number of new concepts that were previously missing.
The TTCI measures the factors and policies that make it attractive to develop the travel and tourism sector in different countries. It is composed of 14 pillars of travel and tourism competitiveness: policy rules and regulations, environmental sustainability, safety and security, health and hygiene, prioritization of travel and tourism, air transport infrastructure, ground transport infrastructure, tourism infrastructure, information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure, price competitiveness, human capital, affinity for travel and tourism, natural resources and cultural resources.
This cross country analysis of the drivers of competitiveness in travel and tourism provides useful comparative information for making business decisions and additional value to governments wishing to improve their travel and tourism environments.
The rankings cover 130 countries around the world. The TTCI uses a combination of data from publicly available sources, international travel and tourism institutions and experts, as well as the results of the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum, together with its network of Partner Institutes (leading research institutes and business organizations) in the countries included in the report. The Survey provides unique data on many qualitative institutional and business environment issues.
“Our study is not a ‘beauty contest’ on the attractiveness of a country. Rather, we aim to measure the factors that make it attractive to develop the travel and tourism industry of individual countries. The top-ranked countries demonstrate the importance of supportive business and regulatory frameworks, coupled with world-class transport and tourism infrastructure and a focus on nurturing human and natural resources,” said Jennifer Blanke, senior economist of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Network.
“The World Tourism Organisation is a strong supporter of this competitive analysis to encourage improvement in the capacity of countries and companies to provide quality sustainable tourism. We welcome this second index, particularly its strengthened environmental criteria.
“Once again, we reiterate that the results should not be seen as a league table of global tourism performance. Countries have vastly different underlying operational conditions, dependant where they fall in the development spectrum. But all have unique tourism products to offer and the central goal is to encourage improvement in the underlying competitive conditions and infrastructure in every country,” said Geoffrey Lipman, assistant secretary general of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
“In the poorest countries, this will mean policy and development support. As a partner, we are committed to ensuring that the process encourages a framework that gives all countries a fair chance to compete as well as to meet the global imperatives of greenhouse gas and poverty reduction. We are working with our members and other partners to better elaborate how these elements can be factored more effectively into future analyses.”
The World Economic Forum is an independent international organiation committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum is impartial non-profit making and is not tied to any political, partisan or national interests. For more information see