A little girl poses for photos with a Mickey Mouse ice sculpture during the weeklong Spring Festival holiday in Harbin, capital of Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, Jan 29, 2017.[Photo/Xinhua]
GENEVA — China has risen two positions to the 15th in the latest global tourism competitiveness ranking released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on April 6.
The forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 ranks 136 countries and regions across 14 dimensions, revealing how well countries could deliver sustainable economic and societal benefits through their travel and tourism sector.
While advanced economies, such as Spain, France and Germany, continue to top the rankings, 12 of the top 15 most improved countries are emerging markets, with Asia’s as exponents.
“The rise of Asia’s giants shows that the Asian Tourism Century is becoming a reality,” said Tiffany Misrahi, WEF’s community lead of the aviation, travel and tourism Industries.
As one of the Asia’s giants, China received nearly 57 million tourists in 2016, which accounted for over 20 percent of international arrivals in Asia, says the report.
It attributes the improvement of China’s tourism competitiveness ranking mainly to the country’s increased international openness, improved ICT (information and communications technology) readiness and further investments in its tourist service infrastructure.
China’s increased prioritization of its travel and tourism industry has also supported its rise, says the report.
Meanwhile, the WEF report suggests more measures to support the country’s continued rise in the ranking, including creating more accommodation capacity beyond the larger cities, a more enabling environment for doing business, and environmental sustainability to ensure the preservation of its unique natural resources.
The report also sees China as a largest source market in the region with nearly 128 million departures registered in 2015. But the potential is still huge, as the report finds out that only 5 percent of China’s population hold a passport.
It also finds that the increasingly protectionist global context, one that is hindering global trade, is not holding back international travel.
According to WEF’s statistics, the global travel and tourism sector accounts for 10 percent of global GDP and provides one in 10 jobs worldwide.