Spain tops list of tourism-friendly coun­tries

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - TRAVEL - By Nick Kirk­patrick

FOR the first time, Spain ranks as the world’s most tourism-friendly coun­try in the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum’s Travel and Tourism Com­pet­i­tive­ness In­dex, ac­cord­ing to rank­ings re­cently re­leased in a bi­en­nial re­port. Spain’s lead­ing sta­tus is “thanks to its cul­tural re­sources, in­fra­struc­ture and adap­ta­tion to dig­i­tal con­sump­tion habits,” a press re­lease ac­com­pa­ny­ing the re­port said.

Tra­di­tion­ally strong con­tenders in­clud­ing France, Ger­many, the United States, the United King­dom, Australia, and Italy were also ranked in the in­dex’s top 10.

The re­port ranks 141 coun­tries across 14 di­men­sions “re­veal­ing how well coun­tries could de­liver sus­tain­able eco­nomic and so­ci­etal benefits through their travel and tourism sec­tor.”

Here’s a look at the top 10 coun­tries, ac­cord­ing to the re­port: 1. Spain

With ap­prox­i­mately 60.6 mil­lion an­nual ar­rivals from in­ter­na­tional tourists, Spain tops the list for the first time. The coun­try, rich in cul­tural re­sources and en­ter­tain­ment, ranked high in nat­u­ral and cul­tural re­sources. It also scored high in in­fra­struc­ture, travel and tourism pol­icy and con­di­tions, and busi­ness travel. How­ever it ranked poorly in busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment, hir­ing and fir­ing prac­tices, and pay and pro­duc­tiv­ity. 2. France

France’s nat­u­ral and cul­tural re­sources con­tinue to at­tract the most tourists of any county with more than 84 mil­lion an­nual ar­rivals by in­ter­na­tional tourists. The coun­try also ranks high in in­fra­struc­ture and over­all tourism-en­abling en­vi­ron­ment. But France could use fur­ther im­prove­ment in the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment and safety and se­cu­rity cat­e­gories. 3. Ger­many

Ger­many ranked high in the cat­e­gories of in­fra­struc­ture, nat­u­ral and cul­tural re­sources, busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment, health and hy­giene, and in­ter­na­tional open­ness. The coun­try ranked very low on price com­pet­i­tive­ness. 4. United States

With a record 74 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors in 2014, the United States was the high­est ranked county in the Amer­i­cas. The U.S. earned high marks in nat­u­ral and cul­tural re­sources and air trans­porta­tion in­fra­struc­ture. It also has a com­pet­i­tive busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment. How­ever, re­stric­tive visa re­quire­ments earned low marks for travel fa­cil­i­ta­tion. The U.S. also could im­prove in the ar­eas of safety and se­cu­rity, ground trans­porta­tion, and en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity. 5. United King­dom

The United King­dom did well in the cat­e­gories of busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment, in­ter­na­tional open­ness, in­fra­struc­ture, hu­man re­sources/labour mar­ket, and in­for­ma­tion com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy readi­ness. It scored sec­ond to last, how­ever, on price com­pet­i­tive­ness. 6. Switzer­land

Switzer­land earned the top mark for in­fra­struc­ture. It also did well in the cat­e­gories of busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment, over­all en­abling en­vi­ron­ment, and hu­man re­sources/labour mar­ket. How­ever, Switzer­land did not fare well in the cat­e­gory of price com­pet­i­tive­ness. 7. Australia

Australia’s nat­u­ral re­sources and leisure and en­ter­tain­ment at­trac­tions helped earn the coun­try a spot on the top 10 list. The coun­try needs to im­prove, how­ever, in the cat­e­gories of price com­pet­i­tive­ness and hu­man re­sources/labour mar­ket. 8. Italy

Italy is the 5th most vis­ited coun­try in the world, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. It also ranks first in World Her­itage sites. The coun­try ranked high in the cat­e­gory of nat­u­ral and cul­tural re­sources. Italy could im­prove in the cat­e­gories of busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment, price com­pet­i­tive­ness, and air and ground in­fra­struc­ture. 9. Ja­pan

Ja­pan had more than 10 mil­lion for­eign tourist in 2013, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. The coun­try ranked high in the cat­e­gory of cul­tural re­sources and busi­ness travel. Ja­pan can im­prove in the cat­e­gory of price com­pet­i­tive­ness. 10. Canada

Canada fared well in the in­fra­struc­ture cat­e­gory and earned the top mark for air trans­porta­tion in­fra­struc­ture. The coun­try also scored well in the cat­e­gories of nat­u­ral re­sources and cul­tural re­sources, and hu­man re­sources/labour mar­ket. But like many on the top ten list, it scored low for price com­pet­i­tive­ness.

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