The 2019 edition of the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report features the latest iteration of the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI). Published biennially, the TTCI benchmarks the T&T competitiveness of 140 economies and measures “the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the Travel & Tourism (T&T) sector, which in turn, contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country.”
The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report is a flagship product of the World Economic Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Mobility, which brings together world leaders to ensure travel and transportation systems meet 21st century demands. This report serves as a strategic benchmarking tool for policy-makers, companies and complementary sectors to advance the future development of the T&T sector by providing unique insight into the strengths and development areas of each country/economy to enhance industry competitiveness. Further, it serves as a platform for multistakeholder dialogue to understand and anticipate emerging trends and risks in global travel and tourism, adapt their policies, practices and investment decisions, and accelerate new models that ensure the longevity of this important sector. The index is comprised of four subindexes, 14 pillars and 90 individual indicators, distributed among the different pillars.
Published under the theme of “Travel and Tourism at a Tipping Point”, the report’s results demonstrate the healthy growth of the industry, with increased competitiveness worldwide set against the slower improvement and adoption rates of necessary infrastructure and sustainable tourism management practices respectively. An analysis of country/economy and regional performance at a granular level provides interested and responsible stakeholders with an integrated understanding of gaps and opportunities for not only driving competitiveness, but ensuring that the right policies, infrastructure and management systems are in place for welcoming the tourism demand that such competitiveness will activate—while preserving the tourism assets, both natural and cultural, that the industry depends upon.
As has been an ongoing trend over the last four years, T&T competitiveness continues to improve worldwide, and connectivity enabling—and enabled by—the industry remains on an upward path. The TTCI 2019 results show that air transportation, digital connectivity and international openness are advancing in a global context of growing trade tensions and nationalism. Air transport infrastructure improvements show a noticeable increase on route capacity and the number of airlines providing services in individual countries. International openness is progressing, with lower-income economies leading the way. Digital connectivity has been bolstered by a growing number of individuals using the internet and mobile internet subscriptions, meaning more economies are now in a position to leverage the growing list of digital T&T services. Travel has also become, for the most part, less expensive and safer, with the Price Competitiveness pillar, for example, showing the greatest percentage increase since 2017. Lastly, T&T is increasingly being prioritized by stakeholders around the world as measured by more favourable perceptions of government prioritization, increased industry funding and more effective marketing campaigns.
On the other hand, results also show that future demand for transportation services, especially regarding aviation, might outpace improvements in infrastructure capacity. More work also needs to be done to make sure cultural and natural assets are preserved in the face of growing tourism visits. While more environmental treaty ratifications and improvements to global average perceptions of the sustainability of T&T are encouraging signs, the continued rise in deforestation, air pollution and species endangerments point to potential gaps between policy and enforcement.