ASTANA – Kazakhstan improved its position by four spots to 81st in the latest World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index.
The index is published biannually and compares 136 economies on factors and policies enabling sustainable travel and tourism development, which contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country, according to the WEF report.
The index is based on the four sub-indexes, 14 categories and individual indicators.
The top 10 countries in this year’s index are Spain, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Italy, Canada and Switzerland respectively.
Approximately 4,559,500 people visit Kazakhstan annually and spend an average of $336, according to the report. Kazakhstan’s travel and tourism industry GDP is approximately $3 billion, which is 1.6 percent of the total GDP. Approximately 150,585 people are employed in the industry, which is 1.7 percent.
The index ranks Kazakhstan sixth in health and hygiene, the country’s highest ranking in the index. Kazakhstan’s low HIV-positive population and absence of malaria contributed to the high-ranking in that category.
Kazakhstan’s second-best ranking, 8th, was in price competitiveness. That category examines ticket taxes and airport charges, hotel prices, purchasing power parity and fuel prices level.
The WEF ranks Kazakhstan’s business environment 36th in the world. Out of many indices in that category, Kazakhstan showed good results in time required to receive construction permits, costs to start a business and tax rates.
Kazakhstan’s information and communications technologies (ICT) readiness was ranked 52nd with safety and security 58th. Human resources and the labour market ranked 47th.
The three worst results were reached in international openness at 113th, environmental sustainability at 99th and tourist service infrastructure at 97th.
International openness included visa requirements, openness of bilateral air service agreements and the number of regional trade agreements in force.
Environmental sustainability was assessed poorly mainly due to low indicators in environment treaty ratification and baseline water stress.
The report shows that within the tourist service infrastructure pillar, quality of tourist infrastructure and the presence of major car rental companies dragged it down.
In the Eurasian region, Kazakhstan is in fourth place after Russia (43rd in the global rank), Georgia (70) and Azerbaijan (71). The country is followed by Armenia (84), Tajikistan (107) and the Kyrgyz Republic (115).
“The Eurasian sub-region [the report refers to the whole region as Europe and Eurasia] faces issues relating to international openness and transport infrastructure. Yet this sub-region boasts more qualified and efficient human resources while, at the same time, providing more price competitive options, thanks to lower hotel prices and fuel costs,” stated the report.