Australia has ranked as the 7th most tourism-ready economy, according to the World Economic Forum’s latest Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report.
In its assessment of 141 economies, the index measures factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector, which it says contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country.
Australia made significant headway since finishing in 13th place in 2011 and 11th in 2013.
As one of Asia-Pacific’s more advanced economies, Australia was the top performer in the region, edging ahead of Japan (9th), Singapore (11th) and Hong Kong SAR (13th).
Whilst Australia ranks 2nd globally for natural resources, boasting the largest number of Word Heritage sites, its improvement in ranking can also be attributed to the revamp on visa requirements. This includes an expansion of the online visa application system and self-processing border entry facilities for United States and United Kingdom e-passport holders.
“Now is the time for government and industry to pull together to revamp its tourism industry in order to compete with rival (Chinese) tourist destinations such as Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea, which are all actively vying for the Chinese tourist dollar,” investment broker CLSA said earlier this year.
According to a Tourism Australia spokesperson, “investment in new tourism infrastructure – particularly CBD hotels – is vital to growing the Australian tourism industry and achieving long term, sustainable growth. This is certainly a key area of focus and one which is being addressed through initiatives such as our ongoing and successful investment partnership with Austrade.”
The Federal Government’s $40 billion plan to double tourism expenditure by 2020 includes two major projects — Sydney’s $10 billion Barangaroo waterfront development and a new Starwood W Hotel on Brisbane’s Queens Wharf.
For the first time, Spain led the 2015 TTCI rankings as the third most-visited country in the world, with around 60.6 million arrivals.
Europe clocked up a total of six countries in the top 10 — the region with the most T&T-competitive economies.