Switzerland, Austria and Germany have the most conducive environments for developing the travel and tourism industry, according to the second annual Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2008. Australia, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden, Canada and France complete the top-10 list.
This year’s Report, under the theme Balancing Economic Development and Environmental Sustainability, places a particular focus on this issue, both through a reinforced environmental component of the Index used to measure travel & tourism (T&T) competitiveness.
ClickAfrique takes a look at the report to find out which were the ten best performing African countries in 2007 when to it comes to developing travel and tourism.
Global Rank: 39
Tunisia prioritizes travel and tourism to a level similar to that found in European countries, with high government spending on the sector, effective destination-marketing campaigns and attendance at most major international tourism fairs. Further, unlike some other countries in Africa and the Middle East, Tunisia is perceived as relatively safe from crime and violence, including terrorism. In addition, price competitiveness is a positive attribute with very competitive hotel prices, reasonable fuel levels and reasonable taxation, although ticket taxes and airport charges are somewhat high. Health and hygiene also remains an area of concern, with a relatively low physician density and low concentration of hospital beds.
Global Rank: 41
The Mauritian government places a very high priority on the tourism sector, with very high government spending on the tourism industry and ensuring excellent destination-marketing campaigns to attract tourists. Mauritius is ranked 3rd in the world for the country’s overall affinity for travel & tourism, with the sector representing an important part of the economy and the general attitude of the population to foreign travellers being extremely welcoming. The country’s tourism infrastructure is quite well developed, particularly by regional standards, with a high concentration of hotel rooms and many major car rental companies operating in the country. Tourists to Mauritius benefit from relatively low prices overall and taxation that is not overly burdensome. By regional standards, safety and security levels are also very good. However some areas that need be addressed include some aspects of the policy environment could be made more advantageous, such as easing up on foreign ownership restrictions and more open bilateral Air Service Agreements.
3. South Africa
Global Rank: 60
South Africa ranks highly for its natural resources and cultural resources based on its many World Heritage sites, its rich fauna and the many international fairs and exhibitions held in the country. South Africa also has reasonably priced hotel rooms and a favourable tax regime. Infrastructure in South Africa is also well developed and overall, policy rules and regulations are conducive to the sector’s development, with well protected property rights and few visa requirements for visitors. However the country needs to work in the areas of safety and security, which is of serious concern, and health and hygiene, where it has a low physician density and concerns about access to improved sanitation and drinking water.
Global Rank: 66
Egypt is a country rich in cultural heritage and excellent low prices for tourists for things like fuel, hotel rooms low ticket taxes and airport charges, ranking 2nd in the world, just behind Indonesia. Further, there is a national prioritization of the tourism sector, with the government ensuring both relatively high spending on travel and tourism and the country’s presence at major tourism fairs. On the other hand, the country’s infrastructure is somewhat underdeveloped, particularly its tourism infrastructure and ICT infrastructure.
Global Rank: 67
The Moroccan government prioritizes the development of the tourism industry in the country with its policy rules and regulations are indeed somewhat supportive of the industry, with a favourable visa regime and relative ease to set up a business in the country. Efforts have also been made to develop the T&T sector in a sustainable way, protecting the natural environment. However more work needs to be done to improve the country’s health and hygiene levels and upgrade the educational system, as well as make further improvements to the country’s transport and tourism infrastructure.
Global Rank: 84
The Gambian government has prioritized the travel and tourism industry and has developed a tourism industry that has been shown to be sustainable environmentally.
Gambia also does well in offering competitive prices to tourists and its people have a strong affinity to the sector. However Gambia would need to work hard to upgrade its entire infrastructure that relates to the travel and tourism sector.
Global Rank: 87
Botswana is known for its beautiful natural parks, with much protected land area and a lack of environmental damage. The country also has low ticket taxes and airport charges and a favourable tax regime in the country. However, Botswana’s policy regime is not extremely conducive to the development of the sector and although the country does not have an arduous visa policy, the country’s bilateral Air Service Agreements are considered restrictive. Further, Botswana’s transport infrastructure is somewhat underdeveloped, as well as its tourism infrastructure, with a low hotel room concentration and a limited presence of international car rental companies. There are also some concerns in health and hygiene, attributable to a very low physician density and Botswana has one of the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world.
Global Rank: 88
Tanzania is number one worldwide for natural environment, with several World Heritage natural sites and a lot of protected land area. This is supported by an important focus on environmental sustainability, particularly as it pertains to the development of the T&T industry. However the government could be more supportive of the development of the sector, by ensuring more open bilateral Air Service Agreements and pursuing a less stringent visa policy for visitors. Other issues of concern include low security levels in the country; the poor health services for its people, and a need to upgrade the educational system and improving all types of infrastructure on which tourism is dependent.
Global Rank: 93
Namibia ranks highly in having an environmentally sustainable tourism industry. The country also has a high affinity for developing it travel and tourism industry. It however needs to develop more flexible laws as relates to the industry and improve its health services. The country would also need to further develop its tourism and ICT infrastructures.
Global Rank: 101
The Kenya government has made the tourism industry a high priority and has some of the best known and visited natural resources in the world. However, Kenya needs to work on improving health services, improve and address issues that relate to safety and security and introduce less rigid laws concerning the travel and tourism industry. A lot more work would also be needed to improve its infrastructures.