by Hennie Duvenhage
Mar 08 2009 13:38
Johannesburg - Crime, health and hygiene have hurt South Africa's ranking in the World Economic Forum's travel and tourism index for 2009.
The country slipped from number 61 to 60 in the overall index, which takes into account a number of different categories - like cultural assets and natural resources, as well as international conferences and exhibitions.
In the category for safety and security, SA was ranked 128th out of 133 countries. Its score was close to that of Nigeria (133) and Pakistan (132).
South Africa was 94th in the health and hygiene category. Its ranking was not only influenced by its life expectancy of 51 years or the prevalence of HIV/Aids, but also by the lack of medical personnel and access to sanitation.
The report warned that the health of SA's workers had to be addressed urgently to secure the survival of the travel and tourism sector.
South Africa was ranked 22nd in terms of natural resources and 45th for cultural assets. Its transport infrastructure (43rd) and the efficient regulation of the tourism sector (26th) were also scored.
The report classified SA hotel prices as "reasonable" and found that visa requirements should not discourage visitors.
Switzerland topped the rankings, followed by Austria and Germany.
The report said that tourism competition would get tougher between countries as budgets shrink.
Picture Credit (Old Malay Houses in Cape Town's Bo-Kaap)