Latvia ranked 53rd in travel, tourism competitiveness

Latvia ranks 53rd in competitivenes in the travel and tourism industry, slightly behind Lithuania and far behind Estonia, according to a new report from the Switzerland-based World Economic Forum.

The forum’s Travel & Tourism Competiveness Report 2007, released March 1, ranked Switzerland as having the most attractive environment for developing the industry. The neighboring nations of Austria and Germany ranked second and third, respectively.

“The top rankings…demonstrate the importance of supportive business and regulatory frameworks, coupled with world-class transport and tourism infrastructure and a focus on nurturing human and natural resources, for fostering an environment that is attractive for developing the travel and tourism sector,” Jennifer Blanke, a senior economist with the World Economic Forum, said in a press release.

A total of 124 nations were ranked in the index. The index examines 13 “pillars” of travel and tourism competitiveness, including policy rules and regulations, environmental regulation, safety and security, health and hygiene, prioritization of travel and tourism, air transport infrastructure, ground transport infrastructure, tourism infrastructure, information and communication technology infrastructure, price competitiveness, human capital, national tourism perception, and natural and cultural resources.

In each of the “pillars,” a country could score from 1 to 7. Latvia’s combined score was 4.3. Its lowest scores were 3.2 in prioritization of travel and tourism, placing it 94th among nations listed in the index, and another 3.2 in air transport infrastructure, where it ranked 54th.

Latvia’s highest score of 5.3 came in the area of human capital, where it ranked 38th overall.

Lithuania also had a combined score of 4.3, but it ranked 51st overall. Estonia, with a combined score of 4.9, ranked 28th.

The index is based on a combination of publicly available data, information from travel and tourism institutions and experts, and the forum’s annual Executive Opinion Survey.

Latvia’s travel and tourism economy represents 5.8 percent of its gross domestic product, according to the report, and is projected to grow at a rate of 7.4 percent annually over the next decade.

The bottom three in the index were the African countries of Angola, Burundi and Chad. The United States ranked fifth overall, while Russia ranked 68th.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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