U.S. has plenty of attractive tourism attributes, including great
cities, natural wonders, 20 World Heritage sites, a solid
transportation infrastructure and a strong work force.
are several factors hurting its standing in the world tourism
marketplace, according to the Travel & Tourism Competitive
Report 2007 released by the World Tourism Forum in collaboration
with Booz Allen Hamilton, a consulting firm.
The report features
the Travel & Tourism Competitive Index, which ranks the
competitiveness of a destination based on 13 factors, such as
workforce willingness, safety and security, the openness to
tourism, natural/cultural resources and health care.
A key U.S. weakness
"is perceived to be a generally negative attitude toward tourists,
as well as a lack of prioritization of the sector by the
government," the 490-page report found.
It went on to note,
"Safety and security is also a relatively more important problem
[in the U.S.] than it is in many other countries of the same income
level, mainly because of fears about terrorist threats."
At the same time,
"other policies, such as the relatively stringent visa regime, have
become a hindrance to attracting foreign visitors to the
Overall, the U.S.
ranked fifth in the report's index.
How other countries fared
Switzerland topped the index due to fact that it is "an extremely
safe country with excellent health and hygiene indicators and
boasts a one of the best transportation systems in the world,
according to the report, and it has six World Heritage
Among its weaknesses,
the report said, is the fact that it has one of the world's most
high-cost economies, which results in high airport charges and
taxes for travelers.
Rounding out the top
five on the index were Austria, Germany and Iceland.
ranked 15 on the index with its "excellent tourism infrastructure."
The government also places a high priority on travel and tourism,
the report said.
Jamaica, a popular
destination, ranked 48. According to the report, the government
places a high priority on tourism. However, it lost points due to
the low number of physicians in the country and safety/security
Mexico ranked 49th.
It got high marks for its natural and cultural resources but was
hurt by safety and security concerns.
Despite its overall
strong economy and other attributes, Japan ranked 25th because "of
a negative attitude toward foreign travelers to the country" and
because the travel and tourism sector "is not perceived as a
priority by the government."