Kevin Eagan - May 26, 2024
Listen to this article 00:03:28
Your browser doesn’t support HTML5 audio

The latest index for the development of travel and tourism, released by the World Economic Forum (WEF), paints a stark picture of the disparities in tourism benefits. According to the rankings, high-income economies, including the USA, Spain, Japan, France, Australia, Germany, Great Britain, China, Italy, and Switzerland, are reaping the lion's share of tourism benefits.

The road to recovery for the tourism sector post-pandemic is far from smooth, as highlighted by the WEF. While 71 out of the 119 economies evaluated managed to increase their scores between 2019 and 2024, the overall progress is slow. The average index value is only slightly (0.7%) higher than the pre-pandemic levels, indicating the challenging conditions.

The WEF reports a global increase in travel demand, leading to greater global flight capacity and connectivity, improved international openness, and increased demand and investment in natural and cultural resources that support tourism. However, while leisure travel is on the rise, business travel is experiencing a different level of demand.

Labor Shortage Slows Down Tourism Development

The tourism sector is grappling with a significant challenge: a shortage of workers and air transport capacity, insufficient capital investment, productivity, and other supply factors. According to the World Economic Forum's analysis, this imbalance between supply and demand, coupled with general inflationary pressures, has led to decreased price competitiveness and service disruptions, underscoring the impact of labor shortages on tourism development.

Poorer Countries Tourism Benefits Are Lower

According to the WEF, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, particularly high-income economies, continue to provide the best conditions for developing the tourism sector. Of the top 30 performers in the current index, 26 are high-income countries, with 19 in Europe, seven in Asia-Pacific, three in North and South America, and one in the Middle East and North Africa.

The USA, Spain, Japan, France, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Italy, and Switzerland have benefited from advantages such as a favorable business environment, an open travel policy, a well-developed transport and tourism infrastructure, and "natural and cultural attractions." According to the WEF, the 30 countries with the highest index values contribute over 75 percent to the economic output of the travel industry in 2022 and growth between 2020 and 2022.

According to the WEF, out of the 71 economies that have improved their index scores since 2019, 52 are low- to upper-middle-income countries. In contrast, almost 90 percent of the below-average index values are attributable to economies without high incomes. This makes it clear that further investment is needed to close the existing gaps in the framework conditions, the World Economic Forum appeals. This is the only way these economies can increase their tourism market share and improve their position.

Related articles


Add Comment