Russia’s rises in prominence in the travel sector via the World Economic Forum (WEF) Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index for 2015
Despite the best efforts of the western media to demonize Russia as some kind of war-hungry, narcissistic aggressor, the country grows more attractive as a tourist destination in the eyes of the rest of the world.
Russia’s rising prominence in the travel sector this past year was underscored at the World Economic Forum (WEF) yesterday in the latest Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, which saw the nation climb to 45th place out of 141 countries overall, up 18 places since the last ranking, reports Interfax.
WEF analysts pointed to Russia’s cultural attractions and beautiful nature as its main touristic highlights, ranking the country 21st and 34th respectively in these categories. Also helping to boost Russia’s standing is the quality of its airlines, and its price competitiveness, where it ranked 41st overall.
“Our ranking is the result of many factors, but we still have room to grow,” Oleg Safonov, the head of Russia’s Federal Tourism agency, told TASS. “For a country like Russia, tourism has to be one of the main vectors of our development, and to that end we are actively developing the country’s infrastructure and improving services while promoting ourselves abroad.”
Such development is necessary if Russia is to boost its standing as a tourist destination even further, for WEF analysts were quick to point out the country’s shortcomings.
The analysts noted Russia’s domestic tourist industry had some significant weaknesses compared to more developed nations. Russia ranked poorly in terms of transport infrastructure (92nd overall), while its strict visa regime (102nd overall) was another black mark. Finally, the WEF noted Russia’s poor record in terms of tourist safety, with the country ranking 126th between crime-ridden Venezuela and Myanmar.
“We have to change our approach to visas, the business climate and our tourism brand strategy,” added Safonov.
The WEF’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index is published every two years, and ranks nations acccording to 14 criteria, including price competitiveness, cultural resources, infrastructure and security. Russia was ranked 63rd overall in 2013, having slipped from 59th place in the 2011 ranking.
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