Greece dropped three positions in the fifth Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013 as it ranked 32nd among 140 countries. The biennial report was released recently by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and ranks 140 countries according to their attractiveness and ability to develop their travel and tourism industries.
According to the report, Switzerland, Germany and Austria lead the world in terms of their travel and tourism industry competitiveness. Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Canada, Sweden and Singapore complete the top 10.
In regards to Greece -which ranked 22nd in Europe, down one place from the last report in 2011- the report said the country’s rich cultural resources (ranked 25th) and excellent tourism infrastructure (3rd) are still important strengths. Additionally, Greece has very good health and hygiene conditions (ranked 13th overall) and good air transport infrastructure (20th).
“Further, there is a strong national affinity for tourism compared with many other European countries, including a generally open and positive attitude toward tourists (ranked 37th),” the report said.
The report underlined that Greece’s decline in the rankings could be traced to a further worsening of the policy environment and a lower perceived prioritization of Travel and Tourism within the country, probably because of “dwindling resources available for the particular industry amid general economic and financial difficulties.”
Greece’s tourism infrastructure received an excellent ranking (3rd after Austria and Italy) as it is considered a destination where visitors have many choices in how they visit, travel, and move around, and they have the necessary facilities for a comfortable stay. “Visitors to these countries have many hotels to choose from, excellent car rental facilities, and many ATMs for withdrawing cash,” the report said.
Tourists go where the price is right
Meanwhile, Greece received an extremely low ranking for its lack of price competitiveness as it was ranked 127th (four places down from the last report).
“Tourism planners need to make pricing for inbound tourism more flexible and should ease access to a country by tax reduction if and when needed… Destinations and private businesses need to respond both to bargain seekers and to increasing demand for more sophisticated travel experiences in order to best leverage their touristic assets,” the report mentioned in general.
Turkey established itself as a destination for Europeans
The WEF report referred to Turkey as a country that has “excelled in establishing itself as a mainstream destination for many Europeans” (especially travelers from the United Kingdom but also those from Russia) while, at the same, it offers a diversified tourism product.
Turkey climbed four positions this year to reach 46th place. “Turkey gains significantly in a number of areas and has seen a significant increase in tourist arrivals over the last two years,” the report noted.
SETE: The WEF report is not a “scorecard”
The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) urged for the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report not to be seen as a “scorecard of a global tourism championship.”
The association said the report was an effort that highlighted areas of interest that could be improved in each country to boost their competitiveness in the tourism sector.
“We must not forget that countries are at different stages of development and tourism economies are at different maturity levels,” SETE said.
To view the WEF report, press here.