When looking for the perfect holiday destination, there’s a lot of things to be considered: Are there any entry restrictions? How do prices for food and drink compare to those at home? How many interesting sights and unique landscapes are on offer? Is it easy to get from A to B and to travel across the country?
To help tourists make their decision, the World Economic Forum releases an annual Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index to determine the world’s most tourist-friendly countries.
Travelling has never been this popular
About 1 in 10 people work in the tourism sector and around 1.2 billion international arrivals were counted in 2016: The tourism industry is growing significantly and experts deem that this development will not come to a stop anytime soon. Travelling is more popular than ever and it’s also more affordable than ever: low-cost flights, intercity bus travel and cheap trains contribute to an infrastructure which basically allows tourists to reach and discover every part of the world, no matter whether they fancy seeing one of Iceland’s geysers, modern metropolises like Tokyo or remote landscapes such as the Andes Mountains or the Sahara Desert.
For the very first time, Spain tops the list of the world’s most tourist-friendly countries. The sunny country on the Iberian Peninsula counted about 60.6 million international arrivals in 2016 and the tourists come with good reason: Spain’s multitude of cultural resources, its well-developed infrastructure and its adaptation to digital consumption habits make it the perfect holiday destination.
With 84 million annual arrivals in 2016, France is the most visited country in the world. In the World Economic Forum’s report, the Grande Nation managed to score good points in the overall tourism-enabling environment. However, improvements could be made with regards to business environment and security issues.
An extremely well-developed infrastructure, numerous natural and cultural resources, a high standard of health and hygiene as well as international openness helped Germany score a spot in the top 3. Nevertheless, the report notes that a trip to Germany is not really a bargain as the country’s price competitiveness scores are below average.
4. United States
USA is one of the most diverse countries in the world and offers numerous cultural and natural resources. Although its air transportation system is well-developed, according to the report, the country lacks a well-functioning ground transport system. It was further criticized for its low scores in environmental sustainability and for restrictive visa requirements.
5. United Kingdom
Good points in business environment, international openness, infrastructure and information communications technology readiness could potentially make the UK a paradise for tourists – if it wasn’t for the price tag. The United Kingdom is second to last when it comes to price competitiveness, meaning that tourists have to pay quite a lot of money on hotels, food and drink.