Malaysia has emerged as the second most price competitive country in
the world in the travel and tourism (T&T) industry out of a total of
124 countries surveyed, says the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF).
The WEF, often noted for its annual top-level meeting and
discussions on current affairs and trends in Davos, Switzerland,
also gave top marks to Malaysia’s participation at travel and
tourism fairs and ranked the country at sixth position, which
reflected the government’s strong commitment to promote the
The WEF’s recently-released Travel and Tourism Competitiveness
Report 2007 (TTCR) also applauded the government’s high priority to
T&T as well as Malaysia’s good road, railroad, airport and port
infrastructure, and its domestic travel network.
It hailed Malaysia’s good ground transport infrastructure and
excellent price competitiveness in very low ticket taxes and airport
charges, low comparative fuel prices and a favourable tax regime.
Malaysia was also perceived as quite safe for tourists (24th
overall) and in terms of the reliability of police services, the
country was ranked 19th, on par with the United Kingdom but ahead of
other developed countries like Spain (22nd), New Zealand (23rd),
Portugal (25th), Ireland (29th), Belgium (32nd) and Italy (40th).
On another note, Malaysia was ranked relatively high by the WEF in
terms of the quality of its educational system which can meet the
needs of a competitive economy. It was placed 10th out of the more
than 100 countries surveyed and was behind countries or economies
like Finland, Singapore, Iceland, Switzerland, Denmark, Ireland,
Hong Kong, Belgium and Taiwan.
Malaysia was ranked 22nd in terms of local availability of special
research and training services in a sector dominated by the top five
countries of Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the
In terms of the extent of investment in employee training and
development, Malaysia was ranked 17th.
With regard to the government’s efforts to reduce health risks from
pandemic or widespread diseases, Malaysia was ranked eighth.
As for the stringency of environmental regulations, Malaysia ranked
25th and was 23rd in terms of clarity and stability of environmental
The survey covering Malaysia was compiled with the assistance of the
Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Malaysia (ISIS)
and the National Productivity Corporation.
Prof Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the WEF, said in the TTCR
2007 that T&T is currently one of the world’s largest economic
activities and it is also the leading industry in many developing
T&T is also the fastest growing economic sector in terms of job
creation worldwide and is estimated to have generated 10.3 per cent
of the world’s Gross Domestic Product and provided 234 million jobs
or 8.2 per cent of total world employment, he said.
Schwab said most new jobs in developing economies were created in
the T&T industry as the latter helped to diversify economic activity
and create wealth and jobs in rural areas.
The TTCR 2007 also credited Malaysia for its effectiveness in
marketing and branding campaigns to attract tourists, ranking it
sixth after the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong
Kong and Barbados.
The report listed Indonesia as for the most price competitive
country in terms of the T&T industry while the third most price
competitive country after Malaysia was Bahrain and Thailand was
Malaysia was ranked 31st in terms of overall competitiveness in the
TTCR 2007 T&T Competitive Index behind three other Asian countries
or economies – Singapore (8th), Japan (26th) and Taiwan (29th).
Switzerland, Austria and Germany were the top three countries in
terms of overall competitiveness based on the high marks given to
their level of safety for tourists, health and hygiene, quality of
human resource, transport and travel infrastructure, and rich
natural and cultural attractions.
Meanwhile, the WEF will hold its Forum on East Asia in Kuala Lumpur
on June 15 and 16 where 300 leaders from more than 20 countries will
convene to debate the challenges and priorities that will ultimately
shape the region’s future agenda.
photos to be added soon