Japan ranked No.1 while Australia and Singapore among top 10
India leads in South Asian region securing 54th spot
Sri Lanka has been ranked at the 74th position with a 3.7-point score in World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Travel & Tourism Development Index 2021 trailing behind many of its key competitors.
Covering 117 economies, the Travel & Tourism Development Index (TTDI) measures a set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable and resilient development of the travel and tourism (T&T) sector, which in turn contributes to the development of a country.
Compared to the 2019 index, Sri Lanka’s ranking has improved marginally by one spot with 1.4 percent improvement in the score. However, the country trailed by 6 percent from the average median score in the 2021 index.
Japan emerged the top performer in both the APAC region and globally, while other APAC nations, Australia (7th) and Singapore (9th) was ranked among the global top 10. Further, India which is ranked 54th spot retained its spot as the top scorer in South Asia.
WEF highlighted that lower-middle-income economies such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Pakistan as countries that have improved their TTDI scores most since 2019.
The 2021 TTDI data showed that economies in the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia tend to score the lowest for safety and security, thereby creating a further obstacle to the future development of T&T in these areas.
Given the travel and tourism sector’s key role in global economic and social prosperity, the publication stressed that investing in the drivers of its development would be crucial in the coming years.
In particular, at a time where economies look to rebuild their travel and tourism sectors, it stressed that the economies should focus on making their travel sectors more inclusive, sustainable and resilient to future risks.
“Efforts to build favourable and inclusive labour practices, improve environmental sustainability and strengthening the management of tourism demand and impact will help economies ensure strong development of their travel destinations. For example, sustainable environmental policies that can help protect natural resources have become even more vital as consumer preference for sustainable travel options and nature-based travel grows,” said Lauren Uppink, Head of Aviation, Travel and Tourism at the WEF.
The publication also emphasised on capitalising on digital technology to manage tourism flows, optimise visitors’ experiences and reduce overcrowding.
“Addressing issues such as the digital divide, skills gaps and fully including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in digitalisation efforts will be critical to fully leverage digital technology to improve the tourism sector as a whole,” it added.
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