The 5 Southeast Asia’s most tourism-friendly destinations
The World Economic Forum (WE Forum) published the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) Report 2017. It engaged leaders in travel and tourism, to carry out an in-depth analysis of the travel and tourism competitiveness of 136 economies across the world.
As stated by weforum.org, this index measures the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector, which in turn, contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country. It also enables all stakeholders to work together to improve the industry’s competitiveness in their national economies.
Beautiful natural sceneries like Halong Bay and iconic cultural landmarks like Borobudur aren’t the only factors that determine whether a destination is competitive. The ranks countries based on a range of policies in place to enable the sustainable development of the sector. The report looks at factors such as how easy it is to do business in a country, specific travel and tourism policies, infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources.
This year, Spain continues to lead the TTCI global ranking. Europe with a total of six countries in the top 10 is the region with the most T&T-competitive economies and with highest T&T regional average competitiveness level. However, Asia-Pacific is emerging as the most-improved region.
What about Southeast Asian countries?
With over 104 million international arrivals in 2015 and an average growth of 8%, South-East Asia’s travel and tourism industry has incredible potential to help generate growth, create jobs and enable regional development.
Singapore leads the way, ranking 13th globally. It excels in 8 of the 14 pillars thanks to its strong business environment (2nd), safe and secure environment (6th), capable human resources (5th) and world-class air transport infrastructure (6th). Singapore is also the most open economy in the world, which is supported by extremely strong travel and tourism policies (2nd).
Malaysia took the second regional spot, ranking 26th globally. While it dropped one position in the rankings, Malaysia effectively improved its performance in absolute terms, rising from 4.41 in 2015 to 4.50 in the current edition of the report. The country continues to be an attractive destination thanks to its price competitiveness, its strong air connectivity and its beautiful natural resources. Malaysia has made big improvements in its ICT readiness (up 15 positions), its tourism service infrastructure (up 22 positions) and in opening up to the world (up 11 positions).
Thailand made significant progress, rising one place in the global rankings to reach 34th position. The country, which is already endowed with exceptional natural and cultural resources, has significantly benefited from improvements to its price competitiveness at 18th position. Thailand has also made improvement to its tourist service infrastructure (16th) and air transport infrastructure (20th positions).
Indonesia ranks 42nd, climbing eight places. The country has made the most of its globally recognized natural resources (14th) at very affordable prices (5th). To build on its assets, Indonesia has emphasized its cultural resources (23rd) and prioritized the T&T sector as an important driver of economic development. Currently representing 6% of the country's exports, the government recognizes the potential of T&T and is investing about 9% of its budget in the sector. Indonesia has further improved its international openness (17th, up 38 positions), becoming the country with the 2nd strongest visa policy.
Vietnam rose by eight places in 2017, ranking 67th globally. The main drivers of the country's T&T competitiveness are its natural resources (34th), cultural resources (30th) and price competitiveness (35th). Vietnam has made significant progress on its human resources and labour market pillar (37th, up 18 places) scores, thanks to a better qualified labour force (53rd) and partially simplified regulation to hire foreign labour (75th). Vietnam has also made exceptional improvement to its ICT capacity and usage (80th, up 17).
See the full global index here.