Ireland one of the top 20 most competitive holiday spots in world

first_imgIRELAND IS BACK in the top 20 most competitive places to visit according to a world economic index – but our fuel is still too expensive and cardon dioxide emissions record is disappointing.Transport, Tourism and Sport, Minister Leo Varadkar said that he was pleased that Ireland was in 19th place on the World Tourism and Travel Competitiveness Index – we fell out of the top 20 two years ago when we were ranked at no 21.Varadkar claimed that the return to the top table was a result of attempts to renew Irish tourism – and other wider economic measures which impact on prices here – but that there was still much to be done to keep prices competitive for visitors.The index, released by the World Economic Forum, found that the price of fuel in Ireland was comparatively high but Varadkar mentioned the Budget 2013 rebate for diesel would be helpful to the costs of operating tour coaches. That rebate, however, doesn’t kick in until 1 July.The Gathering project comes in for praise for its “ultimate goal of promoting an economic revival after the crisis”.According to the index, we score highly on policy rules and regulations (4th), environmental sustainability (9th), human resources (11th), tourism infrastructure (12th). We’re also considered a safe country to visit, coming in 12th on the index on that rating.However, on the table on carbon dioxide emissions, we rank just 118 out of 140 countries. As reported in TheJournal.ie this week, Ireland may have to pay up to €300m over the next eight years to make up for the fact that we will not reach greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.The report, which you can read in full here, is the seventh such annual index and this year focused on the role that the travel and tourism sector has in job creation.Switzerland takes the number 1 spot in this year’s index, followed by Germany, Austria, Spain and the UK rounding out the top five.What’s so great about Switzerland and Germany, for example? The report authors cite the infrastructure (“among the best in the world”) as well as maintenance of their natural and cultural resources and their efforts to make all developments sustainable. Switzerland is also noted as an important business travel hub while there is a nod to the hosting of almost 600 international fairs and exhibitions in Germany in one year. Switzerland’s tourism, hotel and restaurant staff come in for praise – a consequence of the country having some of the world’s “best” hotel management schools.Spain was given a “most improved” tag, having moved up four places since 2011 to 4th place. It received the nod for its number of World Heritage sites, international fairs and exhibitions, its number of hotel rooms and “highly developed” air transport infrastructure.Guinea, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Chad and Haiti are bottom of the 140-strong list of countries on the index.Click here and here to see the Ireland stats in full-screen image: In pics: The winners and losers of Budget 2013>last_img

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