Malaysia 2nd Most Price Competitive Country in Global Tourism
Survey by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum

10 February 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: 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 industry.

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 United States.

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 regulations.

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 countries.

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 fourth.

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.


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