Index Results—The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index Ranking 2015
This edition of the TTCI covers 141 economies worldwide. Table 1 shows the overall ranking, based on the updated methodology described in full in Appendix A. Rankings by pillar and subindex are available in Appendix B.
Table 1: The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index 2015 Ranking
|13||Hong Kong SAR||4.68|
|24||United Arab Emirates||4.43|
|69||Trinidad and Tobago||3.71|
|97||Iran, Islamic Rep.||3.32|
Spain leads the 2015 TTCI ranking for the first time, and Europe—with a total of six countries in the top 10—is confirmed as the region with the most T&T-competitive economies. Given the importance of the regional dimension for tourism, the following sections present country performances in the context of five regional groups: Europe and the Caucasus; the Americas (headed by the United States, 4th in the overall list); Asia Pacific, including Central Asia (headed by Australia, 7th overall); Middle East and North Africa (United Arab Emirates, 24th); and Sub-Saharan Africa (South Africa, 48th). For each region, the performance of a few countries is outlined to give a sense of how the results can be interpreted at the national level. Figure 2 shows regional performance by pillar, including the best- and worst-performing countries on each pillar for each region.
Europe and Caucasus
Europe remains the region with the most international arrivals per year, thanks in part to its rich cultural resources, world-class tourism service infrastructure, strong health and hygiene conditions, and—notably with the Schengen Area—high degree of international openness and integration. Nonetheless, three main divides remain.
First, although Europe’s outstanding cultural attractions and monuments are not evenly distributed across countries, this does not fully explain the large gaps between the top and bottom performers in terms of cultural resources. While all European countries have a long history, some have made more progress than others in promoting cultural attractions to the level necessary to become a magnet for tourists. Sports and entertainment events, as well as conferences, fairs and exhibitions, also play an important role.
Second, not all countries give the same amount of priority to developing the T&T sector. For example, both Spain and Italy have outstanding attractions for tourists, but Spain has more pro-actively built on these strengths while Italy exhibits a less strategic approach. Meanwhile, other countries, such as Iceland, are investing significant resources in building a stronger tourism brand and leveraging specific niches.
Third, the business environment varies tremendously—it is generally lean and effective in Northern and Central Europe, but less sound in Southern and Eastern Europe. Challenges in building a conducive business environment are often related to a country’s institutional set up and the process of change is long, but success is key to competitiveness and prosperity well beyond the T&T sector.
Spain leads the rankings for the first time. It is the third most visited country in the world, with approximately 60.6 million arrivals, a figure that continues to increase thanks primarily to a surge in visitors from emerging markets such as China, Brazil and Mexico. With beautiful heritage sites throughout the country, it boasts top marks for its cultural resources, and also scores highly for business travelers with a significant number of international conferences. It has a high ranking (4th) on online searches for entertainment—restaurants, nightlife and attractions—as well as prioritization of the travel & tourism industry (6th) and tourism service infrastructure (4th). However, there is room for improvement. The low rank for business environment (100th) reflects red tape related to construction permits and an inefficient legal framework, while the labour market is still assessed as somewhat rigid (113th) and sees a mismatch between workers’ rewards and productivity (125th).
France ranks 2nd overall and continues to attract the most tourists, with over 84 million arrivals. With its combination of rich history and attractions, ski resorts and coastlines, France ranks high in cultural (2nd) and natural (8th) resources. These are complemented by its emphasis on environmental sustainability (23rd), strongly enforced environmental regulation (29th) and a sustainable approach to developing the T&T industry (48th). France is well connected, ranking in the top 10 on infrastructure for air transport, ground transport and tourism services facilities, and 13th for international openness. Further development of the sector would require improving the business environment, where taxation is relatively high (133rd) and construction permit procedures somewhat lengthy. In addition, safety and security is emerging as a sensitive issue that needs to be addressed.
Switzerland takes 6th place, performing well across most of the T&T Competitiveness dimensions. It has world-class infrastructure, ranking 4th and 5th respectively in ground infrastructure and tourist services infrastructure, and an extremely conducive business environment (5th), with the top place on the Human Resources and Labour Market pillar. Switzerland makes the most of its favorable geographical position and beautiful mountainous landscapes (ranking 21st on Natural Resources) by enforcing some of the most stringent environmental regulations (2nd) and developing its industry with attention to environmental sustainability (1st). Switzerland’s weaknesses include a restrictive visa policy and low price competitiveness, which could be improved by expanding its offer of leisure and entertainment activities to complement the traditional focus on natural tourism.
Italy ranks 8th overall and 6th in Europe. Known for its picturesque towns, monuments and scenery as well as its numerous World Heritage sites (1st), the country’s strengths lie in its culture and history—it ranks high on digital demand for culture and entertainment (6th) and natural tourism (2nd). In addition, Italy offers visitors excellent tourism services facilities (3rd) and reliable health and hygiene (20th). Despite these strengths, and the fact that is the 5th most visited country worldwide, Italy has the potential to further develop the industry. The business environment (127th) hinders private investment for a number of reasons, including an inefficient legal framework, high taxation and regulations that disincentives FDI. Italy is also less price-competitive (133rd) than most other Mediterranean countries, including Spain (105th) and Greece (113th), and could further improve its infrastructure, branding and attention to the environment.
The Russian Federation ranks 45th overall. This strong position reflects to a certain extent the fact that much of the data was collected prior to events in Crimea, so the economic impact of the security situation was still negligible. Although the Russian Federation ranks relatively low on seeing tourism as a national priority (90th), its high scores on natural (4th) and cultural (10th) heritage sites show how the industry could potentially play a bigger role in the country’s economy. It could build on strengths in air transport infrastructure (22nd) and health and hygiene (6th), but has to overcome challenges in safety and security (126th), environmental sustainability (106th) and the business environment (109th).
Travel & Tourism plays an important role in the Americas, which collectively received almost 170 million visitors in 2013. On average, the region performs quite well in terms of prioritizing the industry, with most countries aware of its potential as a vehicle for development—especially considering the region’s enormous endowment of natural resources. However, there are still hurdles to be removed if the industry is to be further developed.
In South America, the main areas requiring policy intervention are infrastructure gaps, safety and security and business environment issues.
In terms of infrastructure, given the region’s geography it is understandable that most countries have prioritized air transport. However, underdeveloped ground transport undermines the economic effect of investments in air infrastructure by limiting the ability to move people across and within countries. Public-private partnerships are rapidly becoming an important mode of delivery of projects in Latin America, leveraging the often limited public funds allocated to T&T infrastructure development. Anecdotal evidence suggests that making a success of complex construction projects, such as Quito International Airport and Hong Kong’s Line Mass Transit Railway, depends on factors including transparency of process and the creation of a strong legal framework.1In many cases, the same business environment constraints that limit the formation of new companies in the T&T sector—such as red tape, insufficient property rights protection and corruption—can also weaken the effectiveness of PPP projects.
In terms of security, while several countries in South America share difficulties in controlling crime and violence, there are different root causes that require country-specific solutions. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recommends a “complementary approaches” model, such as the integrated citizen security model in the Dominican Republic.2More accurate indicators are also needed to understand the local peculiarities of crime, create information management systems and evaluate the impact of reform programmes.
In the Caribbean, common T&T issues include further leveraging of natural and cultural resources and air transport infrastructure, and—with some exceptions—improving the capacity for connectivity. The T&T Competitiveness Index suggests that most Caribbean economies rely extensively on their famous beaches but do not seem to sufficiently promote their cultural resources. More efforts in promoting and leveraging their cultural heritage could further improve the T&T competitiveness of these economies, while the lower than expected performance of Caribbean countries on the Natural Resources pillar is partly explained by a lack of UNESCO natural heritage sites and a low percentage of land being officially protected.
The United States is the highest ranked country in the Americas and 4th globally. It welcomed a record 74 million international visitors in 2014. With many World Heritage natural sites (2nd), the United States performs strongly in the Natural Resources pillar (3rd) and it also attracts tourists thanks to cultural, entertainment and sport attractions (13th). This is complemented by a highly competitive business environment (19th) and several bilateral Air Service Agreements (9th), which are supported by the country’s air transport infrastructure (2nd). However, visa requirements are restrictive (127th), and despite recent developments in its visa regime leading to a more open policy towards China (not yet reflected in statistics), it should further improve its travel facilitation. Other areas for improvement include the quality of ground transport (31st), safety and security (73rd) and environmental sustainability (111th). Despite some stringent regulations, the natural environment is being eroded with a high share of endangered species and damage to coastline ecosystems.
Brazil ranks 28th overall and 1st in South America. The 2014 FIFA World Cup and upcoming 2016 Rio Olympic Games have led to significant investments in infrastructure and connectivity, helping to make Brazil rank 41st in airport infrastructure and 3rd in the number of sports stadiums. It also ranks in the top 10 in terms of international association meetings. With its rich biodiversity, Brazil tops the ranks in terms of natural resources and the number of known species. Despite its high potential, there are still large investment opportunities, especially in the improvement of ground infrastructure. However, these are hindered by Brazil’s restrictive business environment (126th), partly due to high taxation (135th) and the time needed to obtain a construction permit (137th). In addition, safety and security remain an issue in Brazil, due to the high cost of crime and incidence of violence.
Mexico is ranked 30th overall. Endowed with both natural (4th) and cultural (11th) resources, Mexico ranks 8th and 6th, respectively, in terms of natural and cultural UNESCO World Heritage sites. Digital demand data confirms the importance of natural tourism, with Mexico ranking 18th worldwide for online searches. Another area of strength is the relatively high prioritization of the T&T industry in the country’s development strategy (32nd), with approximately 5% of the national budget spent on T&T related activities (43rd globally) and the Pacific Alliance emphasizing international openness and regional integration. Despite this strong overall performance, some areas for improvement remain, notably safety and security (125th) and environmental sustainability (126th), which is strategically significant given the importance of the country’s natural resources. Additionally, some areas of the business environment could be improved—Mexico ranks low on costs related to construction permits (131st), market competition (114th) and taxation levels (116th).
Panama is ranked 33rd overall. The country has developed a significant tourism sector (approximately 6% of the economy) on the basis of its rich natural resources (20th) and world-class tourist service infrastructure (27th), which offer tourists an enjoyable experience. Panama is a price-competitive destination (32nd), internationally open (23rd) and well connected thanks to its excellent air transport infrastructure (18th), which allows it to position itself as a travel and trade gateway to Latin America. There are nonetheless aspects where Panama could improve. In terms of human resources (95th), despite the progress made, it is not always easy to find skilled workers (99th), perhaps due to regulatory barriers to sourcing from the international talent pool (111th) and the limited participation of women in the labour force (112th). In terms of cultural resources (63rd), Panama scores relatively low on the amount of culture and entertainment-related online searches (47th) and could expand its entertainment offer, including by better promoting its oral and intangible heritage.
Colombia is 68th globally, with 2.3 million international tourist arrivals—on an upward trajectory since 2011. It is very open internationally (8th), with one of the most liberal visa policies (20th), and it has improved its ICT readiness (67th) over time. Colombia has a highly biodiverse ecosystem, home to almost 3,000 species (2nd), and a vibrant cultural atmosphere, with music and folklore events, such as the Carnival of Barranquilla, which sustain the oral and intangible cultural heritage (13th). Yet, despite recent improvements in some areas of the country, traveler safety concerns drive Colombia into low ranks in safety and security (140st), including terrorism (134th) and crime and violence (132nd). Other areas for improvement include ground infrastructure (124th), with a need for more paved roads, and an increase in government budget allocation to T&T related expenditure (110th).
The Asia-Pacific region is extensive and very heterogeneous, though in general several countries share a high level of commitment to T&T. The region’s most developed areas—including Oceania, the Asian Tigers and Japan—all have world-class transport infrastructure, high degrees of ICT readiness and openness, and outstanding human resources. However, the best performers stand out by better valuing their natural and cultural resources and better protecting their environment.
South-East Asia is where international arrivals have grown the most recently, thanks in part to being highly price competitive and rich in natural capital, and helped also by the rapid expansion of the middle class in surrounding areas. Policymakers have understood the potential multiplier effect of offering a larger, cross-border set of itinerary options, including through cooperation on visa policy. ASEAN countries have already started to work on pilots to implement visa facilitation, aiming in the coming years for holders of a visa for any ASEAN country being able to travel freely in all 25 member states. According to the UNWTO, this could ultimately lead to an increase of up to 10 million visitors in ASEAN countries.3
Despite remarkable progress, cooperation is needed on common aspects that still limit T&T development in South-East Asia. Efforts to bridge the significant divides in digital connectivity and infrastructure between the region’s most and least advanced countries—including through public-private partnerships—would play a significant role in complementing the development of a regional visa policy.
Arguably, however, the main priority is to restrain rampant environmental degradation. Rapid urbanization and industrialization are significantly impacting air quality and forest and ocean ecosystems: for example, Forest Watch Indonesia reports that Indonesia lost 990,000 hectares of forest between 2010 and 2013, and a World Resource Institute Report estimates that 45% of coral reefs in the region’s “Coral Triangle” face a high level of threat.4The issue needs to remain high on the political agenda, with initiatives and policy guidelines by such organizations as the IUCN, FAO, UNEP and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, offering potentially useful models for the necessary multi-stakeholder partnerships.5
Australia ranks 7th overall and top in the Asia-Pacific region, and has identified tourism as one of four national investment priorities. With attractions from the Great Barrier Reef to Kangaroo Island and the largest number of World Heritage natural sites, it ranks 2nd globally on natural resources. It is also one of the top three destinations for leisure and entertainment, according to digital demand. Australia has made significant progress on visa requirements (49th), including an expansion of the online visa application system and self-processing border entry facilities for U.S. and U.K. e-passport holders. It remains strong in its openness of bilateral air service agreements (5th) and air transport infrastructure (4th), though it needs further investment in ground and port infrastructure (57th) and tourism infrastructure (29th) to reach its potential. The country should also consider tackling issues related to price competitiveness (138th) and human resources (49th), where access to the international talent pool is limited (134th) and hiring and firing practices are somewhat rigid (133rd).
Japan is ranked 9th globally and 2nd in the Asia-Pacific. It welcomed over 10 million foreign tourists in 2013, a new record, bouncing back from a drop in arrivals in 2011. Japan’s success can be attributed to its rich cultural resources (6th) with unique cultural heritage (2nd) and efficient ground (17th) and air transport (19th) infrastructure. It has also built impressive ICT readiness (9th), launching a paid wireless internet service with access points across the country, which is appreciated by visitors and supports the business operations of firms. Japan’s human resources (15th) are highly qualified and excel in terms of treatment of customers, where Japan is ranked 1st globally. The country can rely on a strong business travel component, and is geographically situated in an area where neighboring countries’ middle classes are growing significantly. On a less positive note, Japan is not a price-competitive destination (119th).
Singapore ranks 11th globally in this TTCI edition. Its excellent business environment (1st) and high-quality human resources (3rd) are extremely conducive to the development of its Travel & Tourism industry, which is also a high national priority (4th). Singapore has taken the necessary measures related to international openness (1st) to ensure the seamless arrival of international visitors, and has strong ground (2nd) and air (6th) transport infrastructure. The country has experienced an increase in spending on sightseeing, entertainment and gaming, and ranks top for entertainment in terms of online searches. Similarly to other advanced economies, however, Singapore is not a very price-competitive destination (116th). It should also dedicate more efforts to environmental sustainability (51st), notably high water stress (128th) and damage to coastal ecosystems.
China ranks 6th regionally and 17th globally. Thanks to its size and its increased relevance for businesses, it welcomed over 55 million international visitors in 2013. Tourists are attracted to the country’s incredible cultural resources (4th) and natural resources (the country ranks third in World Heritage natural sites), while several international association meetings every year draw business visitors. China continues to invest in its infrastructure, especially with further planned improvements in air infrastructure (25th) including new and expanded airports. Ground infrastructure remains somewhat less developed (53rd), while tourism service infrastructure offers significant opportunities for future development, especially in terms of available hotel rooms (112th). To continue building on its successes and improve the industry’s competitiveness, the country should focus on policies that would further enable the business environment (80th) and increase international openness (96th). Future demand for natural tourism also depends on China addressing questions of environmental sustainability (137th) and the falling quality of its natural environment (121st).
India takes 52nd place overall. T&T already accounts for 5% of India’s employment and its huge potential for further growth is made visible by comparing the country’s 7 million international visitors to China’s 55 million. The country’s natural resources (17th) are vast and diverse and its cultural resources (10th) include a unique intangible heritage (8th), sports events and a large entertainment offer. India’s relevance as business travel destination is increasing along with its economic growth, it remains a price-competitive destination (8th) and recent changes in its visa regime: not yet reflected in the data rankings—have the potential to boost international arrivals. However, longstanding infrastructure gaps remain, especially in tourism-specific infrastructure (109th) and the quality of roads. Despite some uneven progress, India also lags on health and hygiene (106th) and ICT readiness (114th). The safety and security situation is unsettling, with a perceived increase in the impact of crime and violence (97th), and India ranks only 139th for environmental sustainability.
Indonesia ranks 50th overall while its growing tourism industry reaching over 8.8 million international visitors in 2014 thanks to national prioritization of the industry (15th) and continued investment in infrastructure—the mobile network now covers all areas of the country, air transport infrastructure has been expanded to reach 39th position with ground transport at 77th. These developments support Indonesia’s main competitive advantages: price competitiveness (3rd) and rich natural resources (19th), including biodiversity (ranking 4th on the Total known species indicator) and several heritage sites (10th). Given its dependence on natural resources, however, Indonesia is not placing enough emphasis on environmental sustainability (134th). Deforestation (97th) is endangering species (129th), and only a minimal fraction of the water used is treated (117th). There are also concerns relating to safety and security, specifically the business cost of terrorism (104th).
Middle East and North Africa
Most countries in the Middle East and North Africa are price-competitive destinations and several have built significant T&T industries in recent years. However, concerns about security—which, unlike in some other regions, are more related to terrorism and political instability than crime and violence—are causing some countries to see a reduction in international arrivals, even though secluded tourism resorts are far from the most dangerous areas.
Other common difficulties include low international openness, which may be connected to the security concerns, and environmental sustainability, a dimension on which almost all countries in the region perform below the international average.
The region’s countries can be divided into three groups: (i) those which have created a strong business environment, developed sound infrastructure, grown specific niches and remained relatively safe as destinations (the top five countries in the list); (ii) those that maintain great tourism attractiveness, but have experienced safety and security concerns or infrastructure limitations (Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon); and (iii) those that are not leveraging enough their T&T capacity (all the others).
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) leads the region and takes 24th place globally, welcoming over 10 million tourists in 2013. While the UAE does not have rich natural resources (95th), it has built a unique environment to attract both business and leisure travelers. From Expo 2020 Dubai to the construction of the Louvre and Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi, the UAE is investing in and giving significant importance to the development of the T&T industry. This is supported by its world-renowned air transport infrastructure (3rd) and positioning as a gateway for Europeans to Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It has created extremely effective branding campaigns (1st) and an enabling business environment for the industry’s development, with strides in travel facilitation and the liberalization of its visa regime (30th). The country has a safe and secure environment, but improvements could be made in terms of health and hygiene services (69th), and some aspects of price competitiveness should be monitored as the cost of living is growing (103rd).
Israel is ranked 7th in the region and 72nd globally. With its unique cultural history and religious significance, Israel is at the crossroads of three continents and has a number of World Heritage cultural sites (26th). The country performs well on ICT readiness (32nd), and on the Human Resources and the Labour Market pillar (39th), with especially good rankings on the Ease of finding skilled employees indicator (17th). Infrastructure is mostly well developed, yet more investments are needed in tourism infrastructure (72nd). Similar to other countries in the region, Israel’s tourism is affected by concerns about safety and security (99th), terrorism (130st) and instability from conflict. Other areas for improvement include low price competitiveness (136th) and political will to address environmental sustainability (101st)—T&T is not being developed with particular attention to the environment (110th) and there is low international commitment on environmental agreement (128th).
Morocco is ranked 62nd overall and 4th in the region. Tourism is considered a strategic industry for the country (26th in the prioritization ranking) and has been developed considerably, representing today almost 8% of employment, the highest share in the region. Tourists are attracted to Morocco’s cultural resources (39th) and some natural resource hot spots, including popular beach resorts, while the industry benefits from a relatively safe setting (37th) and a business environment where FDI is welcome (10th) and construction procedures are not burdensome (28th). The country’s infrastructure also plays a significant role, though air and ground transport have room for improvement. Human resources (107th) could also be improved, including better leveraging talent by incentivizing female participation, investing more in staff training (105th) and making the labour market more flexible, especially to attract foreign workers. Other areas for attention are health and hygiene (98th), especially the availability of hospital beds (113th) and access to improved drinking water (110th).
Saudi Arabia places 5th regionally and 64th out of all countries in the TTCI, distinguishing itself through its enabling business environment (23rd) and price competitiveness (11th). Its significant amount of international visitors travel mainly for business or religious tourism; however, it remains generally closed as a destination for leisure tourism, as exemplified by its government’s low emphasis in prioritizing the T&T industry (100th) and international openness (138th). Its stringent visa restrictions (140th) apply also for the Hajj pilgrimage, though there have been recent policy changes to encourage foreign tourists to visit historical sites (the country scores relatively well, 55th, for cultural resources). Saudi Arabia has good air transport infrastructure (40th), although further investment could be made in ground and tourism infrastructure (67th) and environmental policies for the industry’s long-term development (121st).
Egypt is 83rd in the global ranking and 10th in the region, with approximately 9 million tourists per year—below the country’s full potential as a price-competitive destination (2nd), with significant investments in the T&T industry (23rd). Egypt’s outstanding cultural resources (41st) and long history are perhaps under-leveraged, as reflected in a surprisingly low rank (60th) for oral and intangible heritage. Current instability is reducing Egypt’s appeal to international tourists, and limiting receipts and, hence, funds available for investment. It also contributes greatly to the low safety and security performance (136th) and might also have an impact on the country’s relatively limited international openness (115th) performance. In addition, ground infrastructure (103rd) requires a significant upgrade, especially in terms of quality of roads and efficiency of the transport network.
T&T in Africa has significant potential, notably due to richness in natural resources and the potential to further develop cultural resources. However, it is still mostly in the early stages of development and strongly connected with more general and longstanding development challenges, including infrastructure as well as health and hygiene. While improvements have been achieved in these areas, especially at the local level, they remain important hurdles to attracting international tourists. As the region’s average GDP per capita is less than 4,000 PPP USD, the industry’s growth depends heavily on attracting tourists from other continents.
Most countries in the region are aware of the potential role of tourism as an economic opportunity and development catalyst, and have drafted strategic plans to develop the sector. However, the extent to which the actual implementation of those plans is a national priority varies significantly. Tanzania, Gambia, Kenya and South Africa are all putting significant efforts into advancing T&T development, trailing behind only the Seychelles and Mauritius, where the tourism sector’s share of the economy is particularly large. Also related to political and institutional issues, the business environment varies widely, with South Africa, Botswana, Rwanda and Mauritius among the region’s leaders and Angola, Zimbabwe and Chad among those performing less well.
Two aspects in particular require more international cooperation. One is openness, with some recent policy changes showing a will to make progress—for example, the 15 members of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have introduced a visa policy that enables free movement of people across member states, offering a larger market to international travellers. Nonetheless, most countries in the region still have significant travel restrictions in place, and there are even discussions of tightening visa policies in countries such as South Africa.
While most countries in the region perform well on environmental sustainability, specific issues such as poaching also require more international collaboration. African governments have already started to work collaboratively to pool resources and information, deploy rangers across cross-border areas and collaborate with customs and law enforcement in destination markets for products derived from poaching, notably in Asia.6
South Africa leads the regional ranking and ranks 48th overall, driven by its rich natural (22nd) and cultural (20th) resources, a positive business environment (15th) characterized by little red tape and modest administrative burden and relatively good infrastructure compared to neighboring countries. South Africa is still reaping the benefits of the 2010 World Cup, with several sports stadiums that can host significant entertainment events. In addition, several international association meetings take place in the country every year (36th). South Africa is blessed with abundant wildlife (25th) and several World Heritage sites (15th), which attract the attention of tourists worldwide, ranking 24th in online searches for nature-related activities. The country’s attention to forestry (5th) and participation in international treaties has further supported its tourism industry, though further efforts should be taken to protect coastlines (104th), biodiversity (almost 8% of the large variety of species is endangered) and land (only 6.5% is protected). South Africa also still needs to develop in terms of security (119th) and health (114th), which, together with the labour market (135th), represent the main challenges not only for the tourist sector, but also for the country’s general competitiveness. In addition, South Africa’s visa policy (where the country currently ranks 67th) is poised to become more stringent with the imposition of new immigration laws that also impact visitors, this could certainly harm South Africa’s T&T competitiveness going forward.
Mauritius is a major tourist destination, ranking 3rd in the region and 56th globally. Tourism is one of its main industries, accounting for over 10% of GDP and more than 16% of government investment. Mauritius offers a safe (33rd) and business friendly (24th) environment to develop the T&T industry, with qualified human resources (47th) and a ground (27th) and tourist service infrastructure (28th) that can adequately transport and receive the almost 1 million tourists visiting the country annually. Its air transport infrastructure is somewhat less developed (60th) and could perhaps extend its capacity and open to more airlines. However, sustainability is key for Mauritius; balancing infrastructure development with conservation is becoming more challenging, with a high share of species under threat (134th) and limited protected areas. Greater attention to all aspects of environmental conservation could be beneficial, both by maintaining its resources and by improving the country’s positioning and competitiveness in terms of natural tourism.
Kenya ranks 78th overall and 5th in the region. Natural resources (11th) are well-known assets, as seen in the high number of online searches for natural tourism (10th); Kenya is home to many species and UNESCO heritage sites. The government is trying to leverage these resources by attributing a high importance to the T&T sector (23rd): it is investing approximately 7% of its budget in tourism and has carried out an effective marketing campaign, according to both business leaders (21st) and an external assessment (31st). Environmental sustainability (39th) is also an area of strength, with the notable exception of deforestation (84th) and percentage of wastewater treated (109th). Similarly to other countries in the region, safety and security (131st) and health and hygiene (121st) are the main areas for improvement. For example, the business costs associated with crime and violence (127th) and the incidence of terrorism (131st) limit the tourism and business potential. Kenya’s low access to improved sanitation (125th) and drinking water (131st) highlight the efforts still required to develop the country, as does ICT readiness (103rd), especially in terms of mobile services and broadband internet availability which is going to play an increasingly important role going forward.
Botswana ranks only 7th in the region and 88th overall, despite its remarkable natural resources, including biodiversity and stunning landscapes, notably the Kgalagadi Park, which it shares with South Africa. Botswana has a strong price competitiveness advantage (14th), a relatively conducive business environment (36th) and better safety and security levels (84th) than many peers. However, infrastructures are not well developed, also compared to neighboring South Africa and Namibia. Ground transport (105th) attains a somewhat lower score, and air and tourist service infrastructures (91st) also need significant upgrades. The limited air service impacts the country’s connectedness and actual degree of openness (118th). In addition, despite the prevalence of rich cultural resources, they are not well leveraged, with very few oral and intangible practices recognized worldwide. Country branding is relatively poor given significant T&T-related investment, and a more effective marketing strategy together with long-term infrastructure development could certainly improve the country’s T&T competitiveness.
Nigeria attains the 131st position overall. Tourism does not play a very important role in the economy, accounting for only approximately 1.5% of GDP and employment, and it is not high on the government agenda, ranking 131st in terms of T&T prioritization. Given Nigeria’s cultural resources (57th) and natural assets, the country’s limited development of the tourism industry appears to be a missed opportunity for diversifying the economy and creating employment opportunities. However, significant challenges constrain the potential development of the T&T sector in Nigeria. Firstly, improving the safety and security (141st) situation remains arguably the highest priority, as highlighted by low scores for both the survey and statistics measuring the incidence of violence and terrorism. Secondly, infrastructure is inadequate, hindering economic competitiveness beyond the T&T sector. Nigerian business leaders consider lack of infrastructure as the most problematic factor for doing business, and Nigeria ranks only 127th on ground transport, 111th on air transport and 114th on tourism services infrastructure.7Improving on these aspects is complex and requires time, but would bring long-term benefits not only to T&T competitiveness but also Nigeria’s development path.