Tourism rankings’ fall ascribed to change in index indicators

MTA eschews odious comparisons with past rankings as Malta falls from 24 to 40 in global World Economic Forum’s tourism competitiveness index

The Malta Tourism Authority has said Malta’s drastic fall in the World Economic Forum’s travel and tourism competitiveness index is down to an increase in the various indicators making up the index, rendering comparisons with past rankings “irrelevant”.

Malta fell drastically in the global ranking from the last index in 2013, ranking 40th out of 141 nations, with a global value of 4.16, down from 24 in 2013 with a global value then of 4.92.

“The considerable number of changes in the number of indicators used by the authors of the study in comparison to previous studies, amounting to 43 in total, renders comparisons with previous ranking tables irrelevant. In fact, whereas previous editions of the report always featured a comparison with older data, the 2015 edition does not do this,” MTA chief executive Paul Bugeja said.

INFOGRAPHIC - Drastic fall in WEF index for Malta

Spain was the top ranking nation with 5.31 points, up from its fourth place in 2013, pipping Switzerland which lost its pole position after falling to sixth place.

Malta however retained a regional ranking of 24 in the southern and western Europe category.

“Reports such as these ought not to be seen as some sports classification table but as areas on which a country’s tourism competitiveness is based. They provide a good insight on a destination’s strengths whilst highlighting areas of weakness, some of which one has to accept as a given, for example the lack of natural resources, whilst others point for additional investment and effort,” Bugeja said.

The TTCI ranking is determined by the aggregates of its business environment, safety, hygiene, human resources, and ICT indexes, which were individually broken down by other indicators.

Malta’s individual indicators that made up the travel competitiveness index, ranking each country out of a total of 141 nations, reflects Malta’s strong and weak points.

For example, it ranked first in the world for ‘prioritisation of travel and tourism’ when it comes to government policy. But it then ranked 115 for natural resources, and disappointingly, 90 for cultural resources and business travel.

It was among the top countries for infrastructure, coming in at a ranking of 37 for air transport, 22 for ground and ports, and 24 for tourist services.

But it disappointed on price competitiveness: a ranking of 106; environmental sustainability, 64, and in human resources at 60.

It then performed positively on health and hygiene, 17, safety at 25, ICT readiness at 33, and business environment at 40.

Bugeja said the indicators confirmed why Malta continued to be one of the top performing tourism destinations worldwide, with its sustained performance of year-on-year record growth.

He described the ranking as a place in the “top one-third category within a distinct group of successful destinations including well known global leaders such as Spain, France, Germany, the United States, the UK, Switzerland, Australia and Italy.”

“Malta’s ranking places it very close to diverse destinations such as Cyprus, Hungary, Thailand and Slovenia,” Bugeja said, adding that the country scored well in tourism prioritisation, health and hygiene, tourist infrastructure, safety, and air transport.

“Malta’s performance in the index suffers mostly in those areas where either lack of natural resources, the impacts of a high population density or the lack of large size venues for international events result in the country being awarded low marks for factors evidently beyond its control.”

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