The Philippines’ world ranking on competitiveness in the travel and tourism industry fell five notches this year, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF) study released on Wednesday.
In its Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2008, the Swiss-based forum reported that the country ranked 86th among 133 countries in the world. It scored 3.73 points in the overall travel and tourism competitiveness index.
In the previous report, though, the Philippines ranked 81st in the study.
The 2008 study said that among the country’s strengths are its natural resources—it is ranked 23rd for the number of World Heritage sites and 40th in terms of having indigenous species in the country.
The Philippines also benefits from excellent price competitiveness, which ranked 16th with low prices overall—particularly hotel rates, low-ticket taxes and airport charges.
“There are also some aspects of the policy rules and regulations regime that are conducive to the development of the sector, such as few visa requirements for foreign visitors [ranked third] and bilateral air service agreements that are assessed as comparatively open [28th], although other areas—such as the protection of property rights, rules related to foreign investment, and the difficulty of starting a business in the country—remain a challenge,” according to the World Economic Forum.
Other matters of concern in the Philippines are safety and security, ranking 113th, health and hygiene levels 87th, and transport, tourism and information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructures that require upgrading.
“Our study aims to measure the factors that make it attractive to develop the travel and tourism industry of individual countries,” Jennifer Blanke, Senior Economist of the forum’s Global Competitiveness Network said.
Blanke said the top ranked countries like Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France and Canada 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 for fostering an environment that is attractive for developing the travel and tourism industry.
Thea Chiesa, head of aviation, Travel and Tourism at the World Economic Forum, said that to thrive, or even survive, in this period of uncertainty and change, both the travel and tourism industry, and destinations would need to approach the challenges in a holistic and systemic manner.
“This would allow innovative ideas to emerge, new directions to be taken, new alliances to be forged and profits to be reaped. This comprehensive approach to travel and tourism competitiveness taken in the report aims to contribute to this discussion,” Chiesa said.
Alex Kyriakidis, managing partner, Global Travel, Tourism and Leisure, Deloitte, United Kingdom said that in these turbulent times the tourism and travel sector must not only focus on addressing immediate challenges but also longer term sustainability. Adaptability, deeper domestic tourism supply chains, “quality and skill” investments, and diversity are of real importance and characteristics clearly evident in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index.
The index uses a combination of data from publicly available sources, international travel and tourism institutions and experts from the industry, as well as the results of the executive opinion survey, and a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum.
The forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agenda. Incorporated as a foundation in 1971, and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the organization is non-profit, with no political, partisan or national interests. –Darwin G. Amojelar, Reporter, Manila Times