India Climbs to 39th Place on WEF Travel & Tourism Development Index 2024

India Climbs to 39th Place on WEF Travel & Tourism Development Index 2024
India has significantly improved its position on the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Travel & Tourism Development Index 2024, rising to 39th place from 54th in the previous edition published in 2021. This jump reflects the global tourism sector's recovery to pre-pandemic levels, according to the WEF's annual report released on Tuesday. The United States topped the list, with Spain, Japan, France, and Australia rounding out the top five.
India's ranking makes it the highest in South Asia and among lower-middle-income economies. The index, prepared in collaboration with the University of Surrey, highlights India's high price competitiveness, where it ranks 18th globally. Additionally, the country boasts strong infrastructure in air transport (26th) and ground and port facilities (25th).
One of India's standout features in the report is its rich natural, cultural, and non-leisure resources. The country ranks 6th for natural resources and 9th for both cultural and non-leisure resources, making it one of only three countries to be in the top 10 for all these resource pillars. These factors significantly contribute to India's attractiveness as a travel destination.
Despite the progress, the report noted that India's travel and tourism enabling conditions have been affected by global inflationary pressures. These trends have slightly reduced its price competitiveness and slowed the recovery of air transport and tourist services infrastructure to 2019 levels. Consequently, India's overall Travel and Tourism Development Index (TTDI) score is still 2.1% below its 2019 mark.
The WEF report also indicated that international tourist arrivals and the travel and tourism sector's contribution to global GDP are expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2024. This resurgence is driven by the lifting of COVID-19 travel restrictions and robust pent-up demand. The Middle East has seen the highest recovery rates, with international tourist arrivals 20% above 2019 levels, while Europe, Africa, and the Americas have each recovered to about 90% of their pre-pandemic levels.
High-income economies, particularly in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, continue to lead the index. These countries benefit from conducive business environments, dynamic labor markets, open travel policies, strong transport and tourism infrastructure, and well-developed natural, cultural, and non-leisure attractions. Germany was ranked 6th, followed by the UK, China, Italy, and Switzerland, completing the top ten.
The biennial index analyzed the travel and tourism sectors of 119 countries, evaluating them on a range of factors and policies that foster tourism development. The results underscore the continued advantage of high-income economies in creating favorable conditions for travel and tourism growth.
India's significant leap in the rankings underscores its growing competitiveness in the global tourism landscape, driven by its diverse attractions and improving infrastructure. However, the report also highlights areas needing attention to sustain and further this growth, particularly in recovering infrastructure and maintaining price competitiveness amid global economic challenges.