PH is Asia-Pacific's 'most improved' in tourism, says WEF

It is indeed more fun in the Philippines, with the World Economic Forum calling it the "most improved" country in Asia-Pacific in terms of tourism.

The Philippines rose 12 places to ranking 82nd out of 140 countries in the WEF 2013 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report released Friday. Among Asia-Pacific countries in the report, the Philippines ranked 16th.

It gained a score of 3.9 out of 7 points in the report, which WEF said "aims to measure the factors and policies that make it attractive to develop the travel and tourism sector in different countries."

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The overall index is calculated from scores in three sub-indices: regulatory framework; business environment and infrastructure subindex; and human, cultural, and natural resources.

Each of the three sub-indices are meanwhile based on scores in pillars, of which there are 14.

The Philippines performed best in terms of prioritizing the tourism sector, where it ranked 15th globally.

WEF said the country "is now first in the world" in terms of state spending on the sector as percentage of gross domestic product.

"[T]ourism marketing and branding campaigns are seen to be increasingly effective," the report added.

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Adding to the country's gains are its performance in natural resources and price competitiveness, where it ranked 44th and 24th respectively.

The policy environment has also become more conducive for the travel and tourism sector through "better protection of property rights, more openness toward foreign investments, and few visa requirements for foreign visitors (ranked 7th)."

The country's overall score, however,was dragged down by difficulty of starting a business in terms of cost (94th) and the length of the process (117th), safety and security (103rd), inadequate health and hygiene (94th).

Switzerland topped this year's travel and tourism competitiveness ranking, followed by Germany and Austria, and Spain and the United Kingdom.

At the bottom of the list, meanwhile, are Haiti, Chad, Burundi, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

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Taal Volcano as seen from Talisay, Batangas. Fishers and farmers live on and around Volcano Island despite the risk of eruptions. (Yen Baet)
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