Safety and security issues have resulted in the decline of the Philippines’ ranking in the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report.
The country dropped five notches in the latest edition of the bi-annual Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, which measures how “tourism-friendly” the economies are.
The Philippines ranked 79th out of 136 countries in this year’s report, compared to placing 74th out of 141 economies in 2015.
The country’s tourism attractiveness was dragged down by safety and security concerns, poor ground and port infrastructure and lackluster environment policy.
Among the nine Southeast Asian countries measured in the report, the Philippines ranked third to last, ahead only of Laos (94th) and Cambodia (101st).
Spain, France and Germany were the top three most tourism-friendly destinations in the world, based on the report. They were followed by Japan at 4th and the United Kingdom at 5th.
Completing the top 10 are the United States, Australia, Italy, Canada and Switzerland.
The 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report measured each economy’s attractiveness through 14 pillars, with each having its own sub-pillars.
The country’s most enticing aspects proved to be its price competitiveness and natural resources, being ranked 22nd and 37th globally, respectively.
The price competitiveness pillar is composed of ticket taxes, airport charges, hotel price index, purchasing power parity and fuel price levels, while the natural resources pillar is composed of the number of World Heritage natural sites, total known species, total protected areas, natural tourism digital demand and attractiveness of natural assets.
Other dimensions where the Philippines performed well are in human resources and labor market (50th), prioritization of travel and tourism (53rd) and business cultural resources and business travel (60th),
“The travel and tourism sector continues to develop on the back of the country’s rich natural resources and high price competitiveness, and arrivals have continued to grow so far,” the WEF report said.
“Yet this country attains a lower competitiveness performance this year due to a more restrictive visa policy that reduces its openness performance (60th), a reduction of the government budget dedicated to the development of the travel and tourism sector by almost half and reduced efficiency of ground transport (107th, losing 14 places),” it added.
The WEF said these factors may not have their full effect yet and may reduce tourism activity in the future.
“In addition, security concerns remain high (126th) and diminished protection of property rights, less effective judicial system and stricter rules on FDI (foreign direct investment) have reduced the conduciveness of the business environment (82nd),” the report stated.
The safety and security pillar was measured based on reliability of police services, business costs of crime and violence, index of terrorism of incidence, business costs of terrorism and homicide rate.
“At the same time, environmental policy has improved but remains low (118th), risking to undermine natural resources, the main asset for attracting tourists in the country. Although the Philippines’ travel and tourism potential remains high, there are several areas where policy interventions could help to regain competitiveness,” the report said.
According to the WEF, research has shown that for every 30 new tourists to a destination, one new job is created, making the travel and tourism industry a tremendous employment generator.
“To reach their potential, the majority of countries still have more to do, from enhancing security, promoting their cultural heritage, building their infrastructure and creating stronger visa policies,” WEF’s Community Lead of the Aviation, Travel and Tourism Industries Tiffany Misrahi said.