The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report for 2015 has been released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) under the theme, “Growing through Shocks”. In the report, Botswana is ranked 88th out of 141 countries as compared to 94 out of 140 countries in 2013.
According to Botswana National Productivity Centre (BNPC), this change shows an improvement by six places in the ranking. “However in terms of the quality score this year, the country scored 3.42 (out of 7) compared to 3.7 in the previous Report thus indicating a decline by 0.28,” BNPC said.
“Caution should be exercised, however, when making a comparison with previous reports in light of the changes in the number of countries included in the 2015 Report and the changes in the composition of indicators contributing to a particular pillar.”
The report shows that Botswana’s business environment is relatively conducive, ranking it 39th out of 141 countries. The total tax rate in terms of profits is considered to be very low (23rd) with labour and contributions tax rate ranked number 1 at 0.0%.
Construction permits, effectiveness of taxation on incentives to work and incentives to invest are ranked among the best 20 countries. The cost of starting a business is also considered to be very low thus giving the country a ranking of 23rd.
“The country also benefits from its excellent price competitiveness, where it is ranked 14th. Low ticket taxes and airport charges are ranked 4th with hotel prices considered to be competitive, ranking 21st. The purchasing power parity is also very good with fuel price levels ranked among the top 50 countries.”
The report further shows that the country’s environmental sustainability is ranked 37th. The total percentage of threatened species is very low and the sustainability of Travel and Tourism development is excellent. It also shows that the country is among those countries that are able to enforce rather less stringent environmental regulations.
The country’s competitiveness is boosted by its remarkable natural resources with 37.2% of protected areas. With the confirmation of the Okavango Delta as the 1000th UNESCO World Heritage Site (and the second for the country following Tsodilo Hills), it is expected that the country’s competitiveness will be further enhanced. Furthermore, the country’s natural environment is ranked among the best 30 in the world.
The ICT pillar has significantly improved, though still on the low side of the rankings. The improvement in the ICT pillar is mainly due to the increase in mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 population from 11.8 in 2013 to 74.1 this year. Other ICT components are still ranked very low with minor improvements.
Despite, the positives outlined above, the country is still struggling in terms of infrastructure. The quality score of Air Transport Infrastructure has significantly dropped from 4.1 to a score of 3.7. The ground infrastructure also ranked poorly, from 83 in 2013 to 105 in the current report.
There has also been an improvement in the Human Resource and the Labour Market Pillar, ranked 100th from 128th in the previous Report. But the Report still shows that it is still not easy to find skilled employees and also to hire foreign labour. Also the way customers are treated in the country is considered to be among the worst, ranking 131st with a score of 3.5.
The country’s prioritisation of travel and tourism has dropped from position 72nd to 89th. “This is mainly due to the travel and tourism data that is not comprehensive and timely. The results also indicate that more needs to be done in the area of the country’s “Marketing Strategy” in order for the country to forge ahead of its competition. This speaks to the fragmented efforts around promoting and branding the country.”
Sub-Saharan Africa showcases South Africa (48th), the Seychelles (54th), Mauritius (56th), Namibia (70th) and Kenya (78th) as its five most T&T competitive economies, with Botswana at (88th) ranked 6th in the region. Many countries in the region are working on their openness and visa policies, though the longstanding challenges of infrastructure and health and hygiene standards need to be tackled to unleash the potential of the T&T sector as a catalyst for development. Improving the business environment and preventing depletion of natural resources are also priorities for many countries.
Spain heads the World Economic Forum’s global Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) ranking for the first time ever, thanks to its cultural resources, infrastructure and adaptation to digital consumption habits. Traditionally strong travel and tourism destinations such as France, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia, Italy, Japan and Canada complete the top 10. Of the large emerging markets, China (17th) and Brazil (28th) made it into the top 30, whereas Russia, South Africa and India ranked 45th, 50th and 52nd, respectively.
The report contains detailed country profiles for the 141 economies featured in the study, including a comprehensive summary of their overall positions in the index and a guide to the most prominent travel and tourism competitive advantages and disadvantages of each. Also included is an extensive section of data tables that cover each indicator used in the index’s computation.