For the first time, Spain ranks as the world’s most tourism-friendly country in the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, according to rankings recently released in a biennial report. Spain’s leading status is “thanks to its cultural resources, infrastructure and adaptation to digital consumption habits,” a news release accompanying the report said.
Traditionally strong contenders including France, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Italy were also ranked in the index’s top 10. Canada made the list in 10th spot.
The report ranks 141 countries across 14 dimensions “revealing how well countries could deliver sustainable economic and societal benefits through their travel and tourism sector.”
Here’s a look at the top 10 countries and their score, according to the report:
1. Spain (5.3)
With approximately 60.6 million annual arrivals from international tourists, Spain tops the list for the first time. The country, rich in cultural resources and entertainment, ranked high in natural and cultural resources. It also scored high in infrastructure, travel and tourism policy and conditions, and business travel. However it ranked poorly in business environment, hiring and firing practices, and pay and productivity.
2. France (5.2)
France’s natural and cultural resources continue to attract the most tourists of any county with more than 84 million annual arrivals by international tourists. The country also ranks high in infrastructure and overall tourism-enabling environment. But France could use further improvement in the business environment and safety categories.
3. Germany (5.2)
Germany ranked high in the categories of infrastructure, natural and cultural resources, business environment, health and hygiene, and international openness. The country ranked very low on price competitiveness.
4. United States (5.1)
With a record 74 million international visitors in 2014, the United States was the highest ranked county in the Americas. The U.S. earned high marks in natural and cultural resources and air transportation infrastructure. It also has a competitive business environment. However, restrictive visa requirements earned low marks for travel facilitation. The U.S. also could improve in the areas of safety and security, ground transportation, and environmental sustainability.
5. United Kingdom (5.1)
The United Kingdom did well in the categories of business environment, international openness, infrastructure, human resources/labour market, and information communications technology readiness. It scored second to last, however, on price competitiveness.
6. Switzerland (5.0)
Switzerland earned the top mark for infrastructure. It also did well in the categories of business environment, overall enabling environment, and human resources/labour market. However, Switzerland did not fare well in the category of price competitiveness.
7. Australia (5.0)
Australia’s natural resources and leisure and entertainment attractions helped earn the country a spot on the top 10 list. The country needs to improve, however, in the categories of price competitiveness and human resources/labour market.
8. Italy (5.0)
Italy is the 5th most visited country in the world, according to the report. It also ranks first in World Heritage sites. The country ranked high in the category of natural and cultural resources. Italy could improve in the categories of business environment, price competitiveness, and air and ground infrastructure.
9. Japan (4.9)
Japan had more than 10 million foreign tourist in 2013, according to the report. The country ranked high in the category of cultural resources and business travel. Japan can improve in the category of price competitiveness.
10. Canada (4.9)
Canada fared well in the infrastructure category and earned the top mark for air transportation infrastructure. The country also scored well in the categories of natural resources and cultural resources, and human resources/labour market. But like many on the top ten list, it scored low for price competitiveness.