Iran 97th in WEF Tourism Rankings

Iran 97th in WEF Tourism RankingsIran 97th in WEF Tourism Rankings

Spain was ranked the world’s most tourist-friendly country - a positive sign for the country’s nascent recovery - while Iran was limited to 97th place due to poor business environment, use of human resources, and tourist service infrastructure in the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report published Thursday.

The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report ranks 141 countries across 14 separate dimensions, revealing how well countries could deliver sustainable economic and societal benefits through their travel and tourism sector. Spain’s leadership position is helped by a world class ranking in cultural resources (1st globally), its ability to support online searches for entertainment (4th) – a measure of how well the country has adapted to consumption habits brought on by the digital revolution – as well as excellent infrastructure (4th).

  Failed Pillars

In spite of experiencing a rise in foreign tourists, Iran did not fare too well on the rankings, due to a variety of factors.

Iran was ranked 114 globally in human resources and labor market, which measures the availability of human resources and how they are allocated in their most efficient use. Furthermore, the country received a score of 3.9 (max score 6.13) in the business environment pillar, ranking 119 worldwide. The pillar captures the extent to which a country has in place a conducive policy environment for companies to do business.

The other two pillars in which Iran failed to do well are prioritization of travel and tourism (ranked 130), which measures the extent to which the government actively promotes and orchestrates the development of the sector, as well as environmental sustainability (ranked 115), which measures the level of environmental protection of areas which directly impact tourism.

Finally, Iran’s 119 global ranking in tourist service infrastructure, which measures the availability and the quality of key tourism services such as quality accommodation and car rentals, prevented the country from climbing the WEF ladder. Iran did, however, rank 1st globally in price competitiveness, which indicates how costly it is to travel or invest in a country.

In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Iran ranked 12th, with the top five regional tourist destinations being the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia, respectively.

  Global Tourism

Traditionally strong travel and tourism destinations such as France, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia, Italy, Japan and Canada complete the top 10. Of the large emerging markets, China (17th) and Brazil (28th) made it into the top 30, whereas Russia, South Africa and India ranked 45th, 48th and 52nd, respectively.

“The diversity in the top 30 shows that a country does not have to be wealthy to have a flourishing tourism sector,” said Roberto Crotti, Economist at the World Economic Forum. “But many countries should still do more to tackle travel and tourism challenges, including visa policies, better promotion of cultural heritage, environmental protection and ICT readiness. This in turn would drive economic growth and the creation of jobs.”

The report also identifies areas where tourism-oriented economies could do better in adapting to changing global trends as well as growing market segments. These include a growing number of middle class travelers from emerging and developing countries, senior consumers and millennials. It also finds a need for travel-reliant economies to adapt faster to online services and marketing, as mobile internet continues to define the way travelers select, plan and review their trips.

The global travel and tourism sector, which already accounts for almost one-tenth of global GDP, grew at an average of 3.4% per year over the past four. This compares favorably with the global economy, which grew at only 2.3% per year, indicating the sector’s resilience to economic shocks. In the coming five years, growth in the sector could accelerate to 5.2% per year, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.