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September 11, 2019

Nepal’s weak competitiveness in global tourism

Tourism contributes only 3% in total GDP

World Economic Forum basis of global tourism
World Economic Forum index for global tourism:Photo-WEF

The government has taken major strategies to make tourism promotion as the main weapon for the country’s prosperity and development. Many efforts are being implemented from various levels of the government to make Nepal as an attractive tourist destination in the world. However, a survey conducted on an International level showed that Nepal’s competitiveness in tourism globally is weak.

World Economic Forum (WEF) recently released the ‘Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2019’ and the situation of Nepal appears weak in the Index. The Index shows that Nepal has not been able to get enough benefit from tourism despite the presence of the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, the highest peak in the world Mt. Everest, mesmerizing lakes, single-horned rhinoceros, second richest water resources in the world and many more.

Nepal is ranked 102nd in the list, which is prepared by the WEF covering 140 countries around the globe. Spain is ranked first in the list, followed by France, Germany, Japan, and the US, respectively. Yemen is at the very end of the list.

Even among the SAARC countries, Nepal is seen as weak. Only Bangladesh and Pakistan are behind Nepal in SAARC. Bangladesh is ranked 120th and Pakistan is ranked 121st among 140 countries. Sri Lanka is ranked 77th above Nepal. India is ranked 34th in the list and top among SAARC countries.

Bhutan, Maldives and other countries not included in the World Economic Forum, and are not on this list, although they are making great progress in the tourism sector.

Nepal weaker than the world average

Tourism’s shares in the growth of the global economy were about 10.4 percent in the year 2018. The tourism sector is also equally contributing to employment opportunities. However, in Nepal, both of them are in weak condition.

Tourism accounts for only 3 percent of Nepal’s gross domestic product. Nepal is seen weak, particularly in infrastructure. Nepal is seen lagging in the global tourism market due to the failure of the government to make policy according to the concept of sustainable tourism development and the weakness in the presence of roads and air transport facilities.

The World Economic Forum considers the status of the tourism environment as a basis for the Competitiveness Index. Also, policy, rules, infrastructure and natural and cultural heritage are considered as the basis for index building. The index is based on the priority given to the tourism, the measures taken by the government in sustainable tourism, the number of tourist arrivals, tourist safety, and services, along with about a dozen of things.

Some countries are infected due to various diseases and pandemics and the steps taken by the country to protect tourists from such pandemics are also considered while making Index. The forum says the infrastructure of air, road, and water transport will also affect the index. Also based on market value, the competitive potential of the tourism market is measured.

 Which country is the best in Asia?

In terms of the overall sector, 22 countries of Asia are in the index. Among them, Nepal is in the 20th position. According to an analysis by the World Economic Forum, tourism development in Asian countries is accelerating at a fast pace. The development of air transport with the availability of natural and cultural heritage is increasing tourism in this region.

However, because of the lack of a sustainable tourist environment, tourism in this region has not progressed as expected. In Asian countries, Hong Kong is at the top in terms of tourism business environment and India has been improving rapidly.

Brunei is the most competitive country in Asia based on fuel, air ticket prices, and other facilities. Australia has improved itself greatly. From the viewpoint of tourist safety, Hong Kong is the safest country while Bangladesh has made a lot of improvements. While Japan is ahead in health and sanitation, Indonesia has improved a lot. Singapore leading in manpower development while Pakistan has improved a lot. Mongolia has made the most improvement than Singapore which is the best country to give more priority to tourism.

The positive impact of the end of Load-shedding in Nepal

One of the essential infrastructure to rise in the global tourism market is ‘ICT Readiness’. In particular, Hong Kong has become Asia’s best country in terms of expansion of the mobile network, network quality and regular supply of electricity, and Nepal has become the most improved country in its areas.

Indicators showing Nepal’s status in global tourism

Sectors Ranked first Position of Nepal
Development of Tourism infrastructure Switzerland 102
Tourism friendly policy Newzealand 87
Infrastructure America 122
Natural and cultural heritage China 66
Business Environment Hongkong 113
Safety and Security Finland 91
Health and Hygiene Austria 106
Human resource and labor market America 83
ICT readiness Hongkong 108
Prioritization of Tourists Malta 48
International openness Newzealand 101
Price competitiveness Iran 15
Environment sustainability Switzerland 134
Air transport Infrastructure Canada 93
Ground and port infrastructure Hongkong 131
Tourist service infrastructure Portugal 126
Natural resources Mexico 33
Cultural heritage and business travel China 102



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