ISLAMABAD: With less than a million foreign tourists visiting the country on an average, Pakistan has been able to improve its ranking by one point in 2017 – currently at 124 out of 136 countries – covered in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2017 released by the World Economic Forum.
Earlier, the country was ranked 125 out of 141 countries in 2015.
Average receipts per arrival have been estimated at $328.3 whereas total receipt has been amounted to $317 million, with travel and tourism competitiveness has a share of 2.8 per cent of GDP.
Read more: This French couple dared to travel to Pakistan and fell in love with it
The worst ranking for Pakistan pointed out by the report was visa requirements where ranking was 135 out of 136 countries. The government’s prioritisation of travel and tourism industry was ranked at 132 among the 136 countries surveyed by the report, while the sustainability of travel and tourism industry development got the ranking of 128. Effectiveness of marketing and branding to attract tourists got the ranking of 125.
The quality of tourism infrastructure got the ranking of 123 while hotel rooms got ranking of 129.
Pakistan has a total of 36 world heritage cultural sites and attractiveness of natural assets scored 127.
In 2017, the travel and tourism industry continues to make a real difference to the lives of millions of people by driving growth, creating jobs, reducing poverty and fostering development and tolerance. For the sixth consecutive year, industry growth outperforms that of the global economy, showcasing the industry’s resilience in the face of global geopolitical uncertainty and economic volatility.
The industry contributed $7.6 trillion to the global economy, which was 10.2 per cent of global GDP, and generated 292 million jobs in 2016.
International arrivals followed suit, reaching 1.2 billion in 2016, 46 million more than in 2015. These promising figures are expected to continue increasing in the coming decade, report says.
Research shows that for every 30 new tourists to a destination one new job is created; and already today, the travel and tourism industry has almost twice as many women employers as other sectors. In 2016, nearly 4 billion people traveled by plane, a number expected to reach 7.2 billion by 2035.
The report says that travel and tourism competitiveness is improving, especially in developing countries and particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. As the industry continues to grow, an increasing share of international visitors are coming from and travel to emerging and developing nations.
In an increasingly protectionist context – one that is hindering global trade – the travel and tourism industry continues building bridges rather than walls between people, as made apparent by increasing numbers of people traveling across borders and global trends toward adopting less restrictive visa policies.
Despite the growing awareness of the importance of the natural environment to tourism growth, the travel and tourism sector faces enormous difficulties in developing sustainably, as natural degradation proceeds on a number of fronts, report points out.
Spain, France and Germany continue to top the travel and tourism rankings but Asia steals the show as the region’s largest economies show the greatest rise in tourism-friendliness. Asia’s largest markets are not only becoming larger source markets but also more attractive destinations.
Almost all of the region’s countries improved their ranking. Except for Japan, Hong Kong, China, South Korea and Malaysia also made it to the top 30, while India made the largest leap in the top 50 to land in fortieth place.
The United Arab Emirates, ranked 29th globally, continues to be the most travel and tourism competitive country in the region by far. Its performance continues to improve since 2015; the country welcomed 14.4 million international visitors in 2015, 4 million more than two years earlier.
Despite air travel being one of the safest modes of transportation, with incredibly stringent security standards, measures following security shocks have often been implemented to soothe the public rather than to contribute to a more effective and secure environment.
Airports around the world faced additional layers of security regulations following 9/11 that have cost the industry $7.4bn between 2001 and 2010.
To support the expected growth in international travel in the next 14 years, there is a need to fundamentally rethink the policy framework and innovate the way people move across international borders, suggests the report.
Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2017