India's rank on the World Economic Forum's Travel & Tourism Development Index 2024 has risen to 39th place as international tourist arrivals are expected to reach pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024, according to the World Economic Forum. India was ranked 54 in the previously published index in 2021.

India has the largest Travel & Tourism sector in South Asia and scores as the Travel & Tourism Development Index’s top lower-middle-income economy, the WEF says.

In particular, India's strong Natural (6th), Cultural (9th) and Non-Leisure (9th) Resources help drive travel, and the country is only one of three to score in the top 10 for all the resource pillars, it adds.

The index, prepared in collaboration with the University of Surrey, showed India is highly price-competitive (18th) and boasts competitive Air Transport (26th) and Ground and Port (25th) infrastructure.

The Europe and Asia-Pacific regions and high-income economies in particular continue to have the most favourable conditions for T&T development. Out of the top 30 TTDI scorers in 2024, 26 are high-income, 19 are based in Europe, seven are in Asia-Pacific, three are in the Americas and one is in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

The highest-ranked economies in the 2024 TTDI edition are those of the United States, Spain, Japan, France, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, China, Italy and Switzerland.

Thanks to typical advantages ranging from favourable business environments and open travel policies to well-developed transport, tourism and ICT infrastructure and natural, cultural and non-leisure attractions, the top 30 TTDI scorers accounted for over 75% of T&T industry GDP in 2022 and 70% of GDP growth between 2020 and 2022

T&T enabling conditions in developing economies continue to improve, but far more is needed to close the sector-enabling gap, the report says.

Low to upper-middle-income economies accounted for 52 out of the 71 economies that have improved their TTDI scores since 2019.

Increasing ICT readiness and pandemic-era business and labour policies benefit T&T, but more progress is needed on areas such as workforce resilience and equality. Driven by expanded online access, mobile network coverage and digital payment usage, the 7.2% surge in ICT Readiness pillar scores reflects the further digitalisation of T&T services. Meanwhile, economy wide policies implemented during the pandemic may have made it easier for T&T operators to do business.

While China is ranked 8th while neighbouring Pakistan is ranked 101. “Countries such as China, Japan and India are home to some of the largest tourism economies in the world and all three rank near the top for natural, cultural and non-leisure assets,” says the report.

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