The National Competitiveness Council is pleased to note that recent government efforts to revitalize the local travel and tourism industry have been recognized and acknowledged by the international community. The 2013 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has listed the Philippines as “the most improved country in the region, ranking 16th regionally and 82nd overall” out of the 140 economies covered by the study. The country jumped 12 spots, up from 94th in the last report in 2011. The report calculates a Competitiveness Index (TTCI) based on three categories: regulatory framework, business environment and infrastructure, and human, cultural, and natural resources.
One of the key improvements identified for the Philippines was the prioritization of travel and tourism. The country has significantly raised its rank from 70th to 15th. The country now ranks 1st in the world in terms of government spending on the industry, as compared to its 63rd place in the 2011 report. Another significant jump was in the effectiveness of its marketing campaigns (from 99th to 85th). Natural resources (44th) and price competitiveness (24th) continue to keep the industry strong. Favorable policies on protection of property rights, openness towards investments, and few visa requirements (7th) also make it attractive to foreigners.
The report also outlined the major obstacles to industry competitiveness: cost of starting a business (94th), number of days to start a business (117th), safety and security (103rd), inadequate health and hygiene (94th), and poor infrastructure. Efforts are underway to address these issues. We are optimistic that improvements will be visible in these areas in the near future.
Despite these weaknesses, the outlook for the Philippine travel and tourism industry remains positive. The Philippines is the only ASEAN nation that registered double-digit improvement. This follows a similar performance in the WEF Global Competitiveness Report released last September in which the Philippines jumped 10 spots.
The National Competitiveness Council commends the Department of Tourism and its related agencies as well as the private sector for its efforts in promoting tourism and elevating the country’s tourism profile on the global stage.