Vietnam remains far behind its ASEAN peers in tourism competitiveness despite its jump in a global ranking this year.
The country moved from 67th position to 63rd out of 140 economies, according to the biennial Travel and Tourism Competitiveness report produced earlier this week by the World Economic Forum.
However, it fares unfavorably against Southeast Asian peers like Singapore (17th), Malaysia (29th), Thailand (31st) and Indonesia (40th). In Southeast Asia, Vietnam stands above the Philippines (75th), Laos (97th) and Cambodia (98th).
The competitiveness ranking is based on 14 factors divided into four sub-indexes, including enabling environment, travel and tourism policy, infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector, which contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country.
Vietnam’s overall score increased 0.12 points from 2017 to 3.9 thanks to improvements in international openness, visa policies, price competitiveness, airport infrastructure and tourist services.
The country’s tourism has been limited by low labor productivity and readiness for applying advanced information and communications technologies, the report said.
Its competitiveness index in the category of visa requirements has made substantial progress from 116th in 2017 to 53rd this year as the government has been doing more to extend visa waiver policies.
Vietnam currently offers visa exemptions to travelers from 24 countries, and e-visas for 80 countries and territories.
Spain held on to the top spot in the global tourism competitiveness ranking, followed by France, Germany and Japan, with the U.S. replacing the UK in the top five.
The report added that Asia-Pacific was one of the fastest-growing travel and tourism regions in this year’s ranking.
Japan remained Asia’s most competitive travel and tourism economy, ranking 4th globally, while China was the largest travel and tourism economy in Asia-Pacific and 13th most competitive globally.