Turkey vows greater tourism competitiveness as it advances in key index

Turkey on Friday said it was continuing to boost its competitiveness in tourism, with a key study showing the country advanced in the travel and tourism development index, as the industry shows signs of recovery around the world after being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic .

Turkey ranked 45th in the latest World Economic Forum (WEF) Travel and Tourism Development Index, moving up four spots from the 49th position in 2019.

Ranking 117 economies, the biennial study showed the travel and tourism industry sits on the recovery path after a bounce back from pandemic lows, but stressed the rebound has been uneven and challenges remain.

Unveiled this week, the index identifies key factors that are crucial to the development, sustainability and resilience of travel and tourism economies.

The Travel and Tourism Development Index 2021 is a direct evolution of the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, which has been published biennially for the past 15 years.

Elaborating on the study, Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said the report showed that Turkey continues to increase its competitiveness in the field of tourism.

Ersoy emphasized that the index revealed Turkey’s rise in international competition and started showing positive results of sustainable tourism policies.

“This report shows that Turkey continues to increase its competitiveness in the field of tourism and strives to achieve its ultimate goal in tourism, namely high income and competitive and sustainable development goals,” the minister added.

Ersoy said Turkey had registered improvement in 50 of the indicators measured as part of the study. Best scores were recorded in cultural resources, price competitiveness and air transport infrastructure areas.

“Thanks to the increase in the number of UNESCO registered assets and the update in the data, Turkey ranked 13th in the cultural assets world ranking,” the minister added.

Turkey saw the number of foreign arrivals soar 94.1% to 24.71 million and revenues double to almost $25 billion last year when COVID-19 measures were eased compared to 2020.

Officials had hoped tourism this year could replicate or exceed the numbers from 2019 when some 52 million visitors brought in $34 billion in revenue.

The WEF stressed recovery for the sector is unknown and tourist arrivals in January 2022 were still well below 2019 levels, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

In 2020 alone, international tourism faced losses of $4.5 trillion and 62 million jobs, impacting the living standards and well-being of communities across the globe, it said.

Arrivals rose by 18 million in January compared with a year earlier, it said. “This equals the increase for the whole of 2021 from 2020, but January’s numbers were still 67% below the same month in 2019, according to the UNWTO,” it added.

Japan came on top of the 2021 index, followed by the US, Spain, France and Germany.

Some of the organizations that helped create the index included the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the UNWTO and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

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