UK climbs up the tourist destination table

The UK has climbed two places up the world tourist destination table for 2012, to achieve 5th position.

The table is compiled from a study of travel and tourism competitiveness by the World Economic Forum (WEF), and the UK’s rise from 7th position last year now puts it one place ahead of the USA, which took 6th place. However, the UK still lags behind its European competitors Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Spain, which took the first four places respectively.

140 countries are assessed by the WEF when it compiles the list, with tourism development and contribution of the tourism sector to the countries’ economies being prime considerations. The UK’s improvement is considered to be partly due to the effect of last year’s Olympic and Paralympic games and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, both of which provided the nation with an impressive stage to promote itself to travellers around the world. The report also cited the nation’s ‘excellent cultural resources’ as part of its attraction.

The table for price competitiveness showed the UK in a less impressive light, however, with its 138th place being partly blamed on its high tax rate on airline tickets and airport charges.

While the UK was improving its position on the overall table, other nations were doing less well. The USA clung on to the 6th place rating that it achieved last year, but France dropped from 3rd to 7th, and Sweden dropped from 5th to 9th.

Switzerland retained its first place from last year due to the quality of its infrastructure, hotels and natural resources.