Spain has, once again, topped the T&T Index in WEF’s biennial report which is based on the theme ‘Paving the Way for a More Sustainable and Inclusive Future’.
France and Germany continue to be ranked second and third respectively, with no change from the 2015 edition. The surprise entry in the top five countries is Japan, which is at four, a jump of five places from the last time the rankings were released.
The UK retained the fifth position and the US claimed the sixth spot, followed by Australia at seventh, Italy, Canada and Switzerland in the eighth, ninth and tenth place respectively.
Each country receives a score in categories, from business environment, human resources, hygiene and information technology to safety and security, with the final rankings being determined by an average.
In the GCC, UAE tops the Index at 29th position, followed by Qatar (47), Bahrain (60), Saudi Arabia (63), Oman (66) and Kuwait (100).
War-torn Yemen is ranked bottom of the report at 136th.
According to the report, the travel and tourism industry contributed US$7.6tn to the global economy (10.2 per cent of global GDP) and generated 292mn jobs (1 in 10 jobs on the planet) in 2016.
The safety and security rating is one of the sections of the report from the Geneva-based WEF.
Finland has been named the safest country in the world for holidaymakers. The UAE and Iceland scored second and third respectively in the rankings, which look at the extent to which a country exposes tourists and business to security risks including violence and terrorism.
Oman took fourth place, followed closely by Hong Kong, Singapore and Norway in the fifth, sixth and seventh place respectively. Switzerland came eighth, Rwanda soared to ninth and Qatar rounded out the top ten.
The UK languishes in 78th place below Zimbabwe at 60th. Despite its popularity as a top tourist destination, the US was placed at 84th.
The least safe destination in the world is Colombia, followed by war-torn Yemen and El Salvador.
Popular vacation spot Egypt was ranked 130th, followed by politically tumultuous Venezuela at 131st, then Nigeria at 132nd and Pakistan at 133th.