India has climbed to the 40th spot on the travel and tourism rankings of World Economic Forum. This way it has ascended 12 spots. For the second time Spain has managed to hold on to the numero uno position. The next top three countries in the rankings are France, Germany, and Japan respectively. In fact, in the new list Japan has moved up five spots. Switzerland, which has traditionally been one of the most favoured destinations for tourists in Europe, came 10th on this list. India is the leading tourist destination in South Asia followed by the likes of Bhutan and Nepal.
How does the index work?
The index functions by taking into account factors such as the following:
- air transport infrastructure
- ground and port infrastructure
- tourist service infrastructure
- prioritization of travel and tourism
- price competitiveness
This report is named Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017: Paving the Way for a More Sustainable & Inclusive Future and the edition published in 2017 is the seventh such effort. The theme of this publication shows how World Economic Forum is putting greater emphasis on making sure that the industry grows in a sustainable manner in a security environment that remains uncertain at best.
The tourism potential of India
The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index of World Economic Forum (WEF) looks at the top 136 tourist destinations of the world. In fact the report has also stated that as far as the top 50 are concerned this is the biggest leap made by any country. As a country the cultural heritage of India is as rich and diverse as any and its natural beauty happens to be unmatched as well. All this means that it can be the go-to tourist destination in India. However, the one question that needs to be asked in this regard is whether it will be able to deliver on its significant promise.
What do the numbers say?
The numbers narrate a rather complex story indeed. In the last 17 years the number of foreign tourists visiting India has been on the ascendancy The Union Ministry of Tourism says that in 2016 India played host to 8.89 million tourists. In 2000 this number was capped at 2.65 million. However, India’s performance – when compared to other countries – does not make for very good reading. 2016 was the best performance of India in this regard but it was still nowhere near countries such as France.
What does the report say about India?
The report has commended the way India has continued to improve the cultural resources at its beck and call. It has protected a lot more cultural sites in this period and its digital presence has improved a lot as well. A major factor in India’s rise has been its willingness to open itself up to international visitors. The government has taken strong policies like providing e-visas and providing visas on arrival. Its ground transport infrastructure has improved by leaps and bounds as well and benefited the travel and tourism industry in return.