Swiss top WEF list for tourism and leisure
AFPGENEVA -- Switzerland has the globe's most competitive travel and tourism sector owing to high quality transportion and hotels, skilled workers and rich natural resources, the Swiss-based World Economic Forum (WEF) said Thursday.
March 8, 2013, 1:30 pm TWN
In a biennial, 140-country ranking of competitiveness in the world's travel and tourism trade, the WEF said the Swiss had retained the top slot held in all five previous editions.
Switzerland's selling points continued to help it offset its relatively high prices, which would push it far down the rankings if they were the only factor, the Geneva-based think tank underlined.
Overall, Europe remained the world's most competitive region, with Germany, Austria, Spain and Britain coming hard on Switzerland's heels.
The rest of the WEF's top 10 was made up by the United States, France, Canada, Sweden and Singapore.
The WEF noted that the travel and tourism industry had managed to remain relatively resilient despite the gloomy global economic picture.
“The sector has benefited from the continuing globalization process: travel has been increasing in mature markets and, particularly, has been driven by the rising purchasing power of the growing middle class in many developing economies,” it said.
The WEF underlined that tourism was an important driver for economic development and sustaining employment in rich and developing economies alike.
“It makes both direct contributions, by raising the national income and improving the balance of payments, and indirect contributions, via its multiplier effect and by providing the basis for connecting countries, through hard and soft infrastructure-attributes that are critical for a country's more general economic competitiveness,” it said.
The WEF rankings are based on data from its annual survey of business executives in all 140 economies on the list, as well as from bodies such as the United Nations' tourism agency and airline industry federation IATA.
Its raft of categories ranged from policy rules, respect for the environment and health and safety, to air and ground transport, tourism infrastructure, pricing and cultural and natural resources.