ISLAMABAD, March 7: Pakistan has shown slight improvement on ‘Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013’ released by the World Economic Forum on Thursday.

The biennial report themed, ‘Reducing Barriers to Economic Growth and Job Creation’, sees considerable movement in the report’s 14 pillars in terms of Pakistan’s performance.

Amongst areas where Pakistan showed poor performance are policy rules and regulations dropping ranking from 106 in 2011 to 120 this year and prioritizing of travel and tourism, which secured 131 in 2013 as compared to 121 in 2011.

Pakistan showed improvements in areas of human resources where indices on education and training have improved to the rank of 125 this year to 134 in 2011.

Similarly availability of qualified labour showed an improvement of 79 in 2013 as compared to 100 in 2011, an indication of a return of skilled labour force from Middle East and other countries.

Other area where policy, rules and regulations impacted Pakistan was the business impact of rules on FDI ranking, which deteriorated from 73 in 2011 to 94 in 2013.

The war on terror has impacted the countries travel and tourism competitiveness, in terms of the safety and security pillar; Pakistan was ranked at business costs of crime and violence (128), road traffic accidents/100,000 population (101) and business costs of terrorism (139).

Pakistan showed lack of attention and prioritization of the travel and tourism in 2011-12, ranking 131 out of 140.

The poor performance of railways and the quality of railroad infrastructure also deteriorated in the last two years where Pakistan scored 65 this year as compared to 55 in 2011.Government’s policy on information technology and telecommunications also showed lack of focus as report signifies that the ICT use for business-to-business has dropped from 103 to 115 from 211 to 2013 respectively.

The performance of the regulatory body for ICT also showed an alarming figure where Pakistan lost 20 ranks in 2013 as of 119 as compared to 99 two years ago.

In an effort to improve the revenue stream, governments in Pakistan have also the mid-to-long term interest of the travel and tourism industry, the price competitiveness in terms of the extent and effect of taxation the country lost 23 ranks in the last two years and ranking on 68 now.

The quality of education system showed an improvement by ranking 74 this year as compared to 87 in 2011 among 140 countries globally.

The country also showed flexibility in hiring and firing practices, thus showing a competitiveness advantage by securing the ranking of 21.

On cultural resources pillar, although Pakistan still maintains its competitiveness advantage, Pakistan lost its ranking of 29 to 39 in 2011 and 2013 respectively on the number of world heritage sites.

Similarly Pakistan’s position on number of international fairs and exhibitions at 88 in 2011 has been dropped to 117.

The report sees considerable movement in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index’s top 10 countries.

France fell four places from third in 2011 to seventh while Spain climbed to fourth from eighth. Also showing strong improvement were the United Kingdom – up two places to fifth – and Canada, up one place to eighth.

Switzerland, Germany and Austria lead the world in terms of their travel and tourism industry competitiveness with Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Canada, Sweden and Singapore completing the top ten.

Alongside Switzerland and Germany, the United States and Singapore maintained their positions, in sixth and 10th places, respectively.

Sweden, the only other country in the top 10 to fall, dropped from fifth to ninth.

Amir Jahangir, Chief Executive Officer of Mishal Pakistan, the country partner institute of the Center for Global Competitiveness and Performance, World Economic Forum said that the report incorporates the results of the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum and its network of partner institutes.

Mishal being the country partner institute of the Center for Global Competitiveness and Performance of the World Economic Forum works closely with the Forum for data on Pakistan.

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