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Travel and Tourism Competitive Report and Index 2015

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The World Economic Forum has for the past decade carried out some in-depth analysis of the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness (TTC) of economies around the world, and published a comprehensive useful report every two years. 
This report provides very useful information, which should be used by the travel and tourism industry in a strategic manner to ensure proper development. This year’s report gives some interesting information, which I have collated and presented here. 
The analysis covers 141 countries around the world, and uses extensive research and data gathered from a wide range of reliable sources. The overall index is computed from various sub categories, such as Business Environment, Safety and Security, Health and Hygiene, Human Resources and Labour Market, ICT Readiness, Price Competitiveness, Environment Sustainability, Natural Resources etc. 


World Rankings and Top 10

The top 10 ‘tourism ready’ economies are (as expected) highly developed countries, including Spain, France, Germany, UK, and Australia etc. The full top 10 rankings are given below. 
In the Middle East, the UAE leads the list (as one would expect) with a global rank of 24 followed by Qatar. 
In the Asia Pacific region, Australia leads with a global ranking of 7, followed by Japan and Singapore. Interestingly, India does not feature in the top 10, although Malaysia and Thailand are in the Top 10. 


Sri Lanka’s ranking

In 2015, Sri Lanka is ranked 63 from a total of 141 countries, scoring an overall 3.80.
At first glance, this seems rather disappointing, since one would have expect Sri Lanka to be amongst the higher rankings.
Of course, one could immediately start arguing about the reliability of such rankings (as has been the practice lately by the previous Government, whenever Sri Lanka scored poorly in such financial international rankings).  However, one must be objective and study the trends and analysis behind such research and use this information in an objective and strategic manner to make course corrections and improvements. 
In this context, firstly Sri Lanka has improved its overall ranking from rank 73 in 2013 to rank no. 63 in 2015. Hence the first positive aspect is that there has been some improvement, although we would certainly have liked to see something better. 






Sustainability 

In the list of top 10 countries, which best protect their natural environment, interestingly there is not one single Asian country. Switzerland leads with other Nordic countries. 
This indicates that Asian countries do not pay adequate emphasis on environment and sustainability.



Sri Lanka and Its Competitor Set
Comparison with a select competitor in the set in the region reveals that, Sri Lanka is ranked 5th with Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and India being ranked higher.  
The only disappointing note here would be that India has surpassed Sri Lanka in the competitor set. Further analysis, reveals that India leads Sri Lanka in all the sub categories, except in the areas of Price Competitiveness, Air Transport Infrastructure and Natural Resources (Hotel rates in India is known to be high). 


As expected, countries like Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh are all ranked well below Sri Lanka. 

Detailed Performance Overview of Sri Lanka – Specific Categories
Sri Lanka is ranked a low 70 in the overall Enabling Environment. Further analysis of the sub-indices indicate that it is the Health and Hygiene, HR and Labour Market, and ICT Readiness aspects that are dragging the overall index down. 
The Business Environment, Safety and Security aspects are relatively acceptable ranking around 50. It is interesting to note that the Safety and Security aspect is high, which probably is due to the direct result of the cessation of hostility in the post war arena. 


However, one would have expected, Sri Lanka to score much higher in the ICT Readiness aspect, since it is a known fact that Sri Lanka is relatively advanced in its IT. 
The indices measured for ICT readiness including number of internet, broadband, mobile telephone and mobile broadband subscribers, mobile network coverage, quality of electricity supply etc, all of which should be good in Sri Lanka’s case. Therefore, the only conclusion would be that there may be some inadequacy in the reporting structure, where these aspects are internationally collated. Also the real use of IT directly in the TT industry could be wanting. This needs investigation. 
The overall TT Policy and Enabling Conditions are ranked at 65, but again there are some surprises in the ranking of the sub categories. One would expect Sri Lanka to score high on Environmental Sustainability,but it is ranked at very low 103, while Price Competitiveness is also poor at 68. However, the focus given
on to Prioritization of Travel and Tourism is ranked high at 30. 


Here again possibly inadequate publicity and positioning of Sri Lanka tourism industry,  as being quite an environmentally focused country, may not be properly reflected in the measurement criteria being applied.
Overall Infrastructure ranks at 64, with only the sub index of Ground and Port Infrastructure recording a high of 41. It is a known fact that general tourism infrastructure has to be developed considerably in Sri Lanka, with some cultural tourism sites not even having basic toilet facilities. 



Although beingranked 50 in the overall Natural and Cultural Resources is good, one would have expected Sri Lanka to rank higher than this. Analysis of the sub-indices indicates that it is the area of Cultural Resources and Business Travel, which is dragging the overall rank down to 69, while Natural resources on its own, is ranked at a high of 35.  This means, that perhaps we are not adequately marketing and publicizing our cultural aspects, and also that there are inadequate inputs to facilitate business travel as well. 
What does this mean for Sri Lanka travel and tourism industry? 
  • Certainly there has been a slight improvement in the overall ranking from 73 in 2013 to  63 this year. 
  • The development of HR Resources (rank 86) certainly needs vast improvement, and this is an accepted fact in the Sri Lanka tourism industry. 
  • Health and Hygiene (rank 71) should be improved in the next few years with proper reporting structure and with some of the diseases like Malaria being eradicated. However, prevalence to Dengue may be a factor pulling the index down. 
  • Serious investigation needs to be done as to why Sri Lanka scores so poorly in rank 92 for ICT Readiness (perhaps the ICT industry should also get involved). 
  • Sri Lanka should have scored much higher in the Environmental Sustainability  area. (currently ranked 103) Considerable work has been done at operational level on the environment and energy conservation areas, but inadequate publicity and marketing of the destination as environmentally responsible one, could be the reason for the low rank.
  • Price Competitiveness is also close to a low rank of 70 and there has been much debate about this aspect, where many feel that Sri Lanka is no longer a value for money destination in the region.  Some proper positioning of the overall product should be decided on. 
  • Tourist Service Infrastructure (rank 74) has to improve vastly and this is an area that has been discussed considerably, where even basic toilet facilities are not available to tourists, visiting cultural sites. 
  • Sri Lanka is certainly blessed with considerable cultural resources, but the poor ranking of close to 70 could indicate that it is not been properly marketed and publicized. 
  • The overall infrastructure required for business travel is also inadequate and has to be improved. 


Conclusion
In conclusion, it is quite evident that much needs to be done to improve such global rankings in the future years. Such indices are important to really track progress in the international arena.
Those at operation level do know that considerable initiatives in most of these areas are being taken by individual organizations and other agencies. 
What seems to be lacking is the need for some overarching goal or target to be established, and be pursued at a national level, in a coordinated and comprehensive manner. 


(Srilal Miththapala, an electrical engineer by profession, is a senior personality in the country’s tourism industry and is a former President Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka 
(THASL). He can be contacted 
via srilal.mith@gmail.com)
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See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 


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See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 


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