Nepal improves in travel and tourism competitiveness index
Though, the recent tremor has scared the tourism entrepreneurs, the country has moved up ten spots to the 102nd position – among 141 economies – in travel and tourism competitiveness index, according to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness report 2015 published globally this week.
Despite improvement in its position, Nepal lags behind in the South Asian rankings. Nepal trails behind India (52nd), Bhutan (87th), but ahead of Pakistan (125th) and Bangladesh (127th), mainly due to poor quality of air transport infrastructure and road, according to the report by World Economic Forum (WEF).
Nepal's competitiveness increased largely due to the purchasing power parity (PPP) because of cheapest Nepali rupee against the US dollar that has attracted tourists. The biannal report by the Swiss-based World Economic Forum ranked Nepal seventh in terms of the purchasing power parity (PPP) – out of the total 141 counties – due to Nepal becoming the cheapest destination because of expensive US dollar.
Likewise, the strong US dollar also helped Nepal become competitive destination as the report placed Nepal in 23rd position – out of the 141 countries – in terms of price competitiveness destination.
The devastating earthquake on April 25, followed by hundreds of after shocks, has damaged tourist infrastructures including cultural and historical sites, which were the major attractions for tourists. Nepal ranks 29th in terms of the number of World Heritage natural sites, 16th in terms of the Natural tourism digital demand and 25th in terms of natural resources, according to the report.
But in terms of branding and effective marketing of the tourism products Nepal stands at 78th position, the report said, adding that the the government’s priority to travel and tourism also stands low at 51st, whereas in terms of safety and security of tourists, Nepal ranks the poorest at 113th position. Likewise, in terms of quality of air transport infrastructure Nepal ranks 128th in 2015 report from 121st position two years ago in 2013.
The country ranks 115th in terms of quality of roads, whereas it is ranked 118th in terms of tourist service infrastructure.
The travel and tourism industry has generated 503,800 jobs and contributed some $738 million to the GDP anually, the report added.
The report also claimed that Australia (seventh), Japan (nineth), Singapore (11th), Hong Kong (13th) and New Zealand (16th) are the top five performers in the Asia-Pacific region. Likewise, Spain is ranked the first, followed by France, Germany, United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia, Italy, Japan and Canada in the top 10 tourism-ready economies by the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness report 2015.