Israel improved its position in the World Economic Forum's Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report by 11 places compared with last year's and was among the countries with the greatest improvement in the world tourism rankings, but it still lags behind in 61th place in the overall ranking.
Some of the reasons for the low ranking are the high prices of hotels and gas, along with security and safety concerns.
The forum’s annual report was published over the weekend, dealing with competition in the field of tourism. It spans hundreds of pages and includes a comprehensive survey of the various fields related to tourism, including business environment, security and safety, human resources, openness to tourism, health and hygiene, road and port infrastructure and, of course, the tourists’ bang for their buck.
Israel ranks 36th for land transportation and infrastructure at the ports, 26th for tourism services and infrastructure, and 47th for aviation infrastructure. In terms of quality of tourism infrastructure, Israel is ranked 56th in the world, and Israel's cultural resources are 57th. In this area, Israel is listed as a country with 9 world cultural heritage sites.
In the area of preference for tourism, Israel is in 73rd place, and then the deterioration begins: In the field of natural resources it is only 93rd place. For international openness it is 99th place and in 103rd in the field of safety and security.
As for prices, Israel occupies the transantepenultimate place at number 133, placing only above Barbados, England and Switzerland.
Israel’s embarrassingly low ranking is explained in the report. It turns out that gas prices place it in 135th place in the world, hotel prices place it in 95th, and the prices of airline tickets and airport taxes place it in 91st place.
Despite these worrying data, the Jewish state does place higher in some other fields. Israel is in first place in the world for the presence of international car rental companies and also in first place for the treatment of malaria and HIV and improvement in sanitation and access to improved drinking water.
With wholly uncompetitive prices, it is perhaps unsurprising that Israel ranks 11th globally for the placement of ATMS in the country, enabling locals and tourists alike to withdraw the cash that they need to get by in the country.
In the index, Spain ranks first, followed by France, Germany, Japan, England and the United States. In last place is Yemen, preceded by Chad, Burundi, Congo and Mauritania.
(Translated and edited by J. Herzog)