Europe leads global tourism hotspots

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The Independent Travel

European nations dominate a list of tourism hotspots released this week by the World Economic Forum.

A total of seven European countries made top ten entries in the most recently-released Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2011, a report from the World Economic Forum which analyses the factors contributing to tourism development by country.

Switzerland topped the list, with Germany in second place and France in third, and Austria, Sweden, the UK and Spain all also listed in the top ten.

Canada, Singapore and the US were the only non-European countries to earn a place at the top of the 139-country list, which is compiled by assessing factors ranging from the tourism policy to tangible factors such as transport infrastructure, price competitiveness, and natural and cultural resources.

The report described Switzerland, which was first place for the second issue running, as "a country rich in cultural and natural resources," with an excellent transport infrastructure and specific tourism infrastructure such as hotel rooms and ATMs.

Germany, overtaking Austria this year, was praised for its "abundant cultural resources" and stringent environmental regulations on the tourism industry, while both Germany and France were ranked highly for their ground transport infrastructure.

Notable nations which failed to make to top ten but were leading in their respective regions include the United Arab Emirates, which topped the Middle East and North Africa; Mauritius, leading Sub-Saharan African rankings; and Costa Rica, the highest-ranking country in the Americas list outside of North America.

The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index 2011

1. Switzerland
2. Germany
3. France
4. Austria
5. Sweden
6. United States
7. United Kingdom
8. Spain
9. Canada
10. Singapore

Data from the WEF Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2011