Poor safety record limits Thailand in world tourism rankings

Poor safety record limits Thailand in world tourism rankings

WEF report ranks Spain world's most tourist-friendly nation

Spain was ranked the world’s most tourist-friendly country while Thailand was limited to 35th place due to poor safety in the World Economic Forum’s <em>Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report</em>.

Spain's top showing in the bi-annual report released Thursday was attributed partly to its cultural resources, airport and infrastructure strength, and prevalence of wireless internet services.

France, Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom rounded out the top five.

Thailand improved from 43rd place in the WEF's 2013 report, but still ranks 10th in Asia, behind Japan (9th), Singapore (11th), Hong Kong (13th), China (17th), Malaysia (25th), South Korea (27th) and Taiwan (32nd).

The next closest competitor was Indonesia at 50th.

Safety rating plunges

While the forum ranked Thailand 10th overall in the Southeast Asia region, it scored last, behind even Myanmar and the Philippines, in terms of "safety and security".

Worldwide, Thailand's safety rank plummeted to 132 out of 140, worse than Lebanon, Mali, Burundi and Iran. Two years ago, the kingdom ranked 87th.

"Thailand experienced a decline in tourists' confidence beginning in December 2008 when international airports started closing and many foreign tour agents quit the country," the WEF wrote in its report. "The effects continued into 2010, with nearby countries benefitting from an increase in visitors."

Tourist police have stepped up efforts to be more accessible to tourists, such as deploying officers on Segways to better patrol tourist areas. (Bangkok Post photo)

The kingdom's best marks came in "human resources and labour", where it ranked second. Thailand placed third in the region for "health and hygiene", "ICT readiness" and "business environment".

The country earned high marks for its tourist infrastructure, but ranked only in the middle of the Southeast Asian pack when it came to environmental sustainability.

Thailand fared well in Asia when judged on price competitiveness. Worldwide, it ranked 36th. In Asia, it ranked behind Indonesia (3rd), Malaysia (6th), Vietnam (22nd), Philippines (24th) and China (34th).

And, despite its recent problems with the International Civil Aviation Organisation, Thailand's air-transport infrastructure was well regarded, ranking 17th overall and third in Asia, behind only Hong Kong and Singapore, which placed fifth and sixth overall, respectively.

The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report is designed to assess how well countries can deliver sustainable economic and societal benefits through their travel and tourism sector.

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