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World Economic Forum ranks UK fifth for tourism competitiveness

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The UK has the fifth most competitive tourism market in the world, according to the World Economic Forum’s travel report.

The report looks at 141 countries and ranks them on how well they could deliver sustainable economic and societal benefits through their travel and tourism sector.

A healthy business environment, strong air travel infrastructure and a wealth of cultural attractions makes the UK a popular destination.

Providing 3.5 per cent of GDP, the tourism sector in the UK is worth US$90.3bn (€79bn, £57bn) and is set to grow by more than 3 per cent this year. It provides 5.5 per cent of the country’s jobs.

More than 31 million tourists visited in 2013, bringing US$41bn (£26m, €36m) into the economy.

On the downside, only Switzerland is more expensive to visit than the UK, as the Air Passenger Duty can add up to £71 (€98, $112) on the price of an airline ticket. Following the election of a majority Conservative government, the British Hospitality Association has called for tourism VAT to be cut to 5 per cent which, it argues, would massively boost jobs.

The report also showed that new middle classes from countries like China, senior travellers from the West and the millennial generation are increasingly shaping the travel and tourism industry. The report recommends tourism-oriented economies adapt to changing global trends as well as growing market segments.

The diversity in the top 30 shows that a country does not have to be wealthy to have a flourishing tourism sector,” says economist at the World Economic Forum, Roberto Crotti. “But many countries should still do more to tackle travel and tourism challenges, including visa policies, better promotion of cultural heritage, environmental protection and ICT readiness.”

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The UK has the fifth most competitive tourism market in the world, according to the World Economic Forum’s travel report.
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