Latin America More Competitive In Tourism, But Needs To Improve In Safety

By Dialogo
March 04, 2009

Latin America has become more competitive in tourism over the past year, but needs to improve its safety ‎in order to increase its appeal, according to a report developed by the World Economic Fund.‎ Costa Rica is the highest ranked Latin American country, scoring 42 points in a report on tourism ‎competitiveness and attractiveness that covers 133 nations.‎ It is followed by Brazil (45), Mexico (51), Chile (57), Argentina (65), and Venezuela (104).‎ The report considers safety to be the most influential factor in the evaluation and the region’s loss of ‎appeal.‎ All Latin American countries count on excellent natural resources and many places are included in ‎UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.‎ ‎“They need to demonstrate higher environmental awareness. These days that is very important,” Jennifer ‎Blank, the co-author of the report along with Thea Chiesa, told Efe.‎ ‎“However, we will not forget that they have all improved and rose in the ranking,” she stated.‎ Regarding Costa Rica, the report suggests a need to improve road infrastructure.‎ Brazil is highlighted as a country possessing some of the most diverse fauna in the world, and with great ‎interest in and concern about its sustainability.‎ However, the report criticizes the high taxes and, above all, safety, since it is located between the least safe ‎countries in the world.‎ The report suggests that Mexico should improve on issues related to hygiene, infrastructure, and safety, ‎while it recognizes that there has been improvement over the previous year.‎ With regards to Chile, the report recognizes that negotiations for the establishment of businesses flow ‎quickly and inexpensively, but regrets that the country lost six points due to the lack of priority that the ‎government dedicates to the sector.‎ Argentina has lost six points compared to the previous report, and one of the most influential factors is the ‎quality of its aviation. Other factors cited include the country’s high prices and governmental regulations ‎that have affected its competitiveness.‎ In Venezuela, according to the Forum, tourism is not a priority for the government, since its infrastructure ‎is inadequate and its politics are not environmentally oriented.‎ The list of the most attractive and competitive countries is headed by Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, ‎which have the environment, infrastructure, and proper conditions for the development of tourism, ‎according to the Forum.‎ In the list based on 2008 data, France is the country that shows the most improvement, moving up from ‎tenth to fourth place.‎ Canada is ranked fifth, Spain is the sixth, Sweden is the seventh, United States is the eighth, and Australia, ‎the country that had dropped the most in ranking compared to last year, when it was ranked in fourth place, ‎is ninth.‎