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Locals Determine Quality of Tourism Product

“All the countries ahead of Greece have higher tourism product prices, and a higher level of tourism services, or value for money”

Tourism competitiveness does not depend only, or basically, on price, reputed the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises after a recent report released by the World Economic Forum. The report on travel and tourism competitiveness, which placed Greece number 24 in a list of 124 countries, should help understand why some countries capitalize on tourism, while others are left behind.

All the countries ahead of Greece have higher tourism product prices, and a higher level of tourism services, or value for money, said the association.

As well, said the association, the general conclusion of the report is that local inhabitants are the ones that can improve the level of the tourism offer, “which is something government should keep in mind when making policy decisions.”

The association mentioned policy decisions such as improving the business and environment climate, improving general tourism infrastructure -with emphasis on air transport- deleting the many barriers confronted by potential investors, ease the issuance of visas, and a continuous development of human resources.

According to the report, France, even though it is the most-traveled-to destination in the world, is ranked just outside the top 10, in 12th place. It is very attractive to travelers as it has thirty World Heritage sites. The quality of the air is very high and the standards of ground transport infrastructure is also marked as top quality. The main weakness is the general attitude of the French toward visitors (ranked very low at 122nd overall).

The report says there was an increase in the number of international tourism receipts from $2.1 billion to $622.7 billion between 1950 and 2004. By 2006, the T&T sector accounted for 10.3 percent of world GDP. It is an important source of economic growth and development in many countries. In 2006 there were 234 million jobs in the industry, making up 8.2 percent of total employment worldwide.

The World Tourism Organization claims that the number of international arrivals grew from 25 million in 1950 to approximately 763 million in 2004. The sector is vital in developing countries where it helps reduce poverty through the provision of jobs. It also encourages governments to make infrastructure improvements; in roads, and in electricity, telephone, and public transport networks. The industry is very important in the preservation of the natural environment, since this often serves as a tourist attraction.

The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report generated the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI). The index measures the factors and policies that make it attractive to develop the T&T sector in different countries. Highest ranked in the TTCI is Switzerland, which has attained top positions in all the criteria covered by the Index. It is a very safe country, with excellent health and hygiene indices and efficient environmental regulations.

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