Taiwan's travel and tourism competitiveness was ranked 30th in the world and fourth in Asia, according to the results of a survey recently released by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum.
It marks the first time the nation has been included in a global tourism rating.
Previous similar surveys did not include Taiwan, due to the nation not being a member of the World Tourism Organization or the World Travel and Tourism Council.
The survey, the first of its kind published by the forum, covered 124 economies.
"Our study is not a `beauty contest' or a statement about the attractiveness of a country. On the contrary, we aim to measure the factors that make it attractive to develop the travel and tourism industry of individual countries," said Jennifer Blanke, senior economist of the forum's Global Competitiveness Network.
In Asia, Taiwan is behind only Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, the survey shows.
In the global rankings, Japan was 25th, South Korea 42nd, Thailand 43rd, Indonesia 60th and China ranked 71st.
The top 10 list includes Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Iceland, the US, Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore, Luxembourg and the UK.
The survey further reveals Taiwan in eighth place in terms of environmental regulation and 14th place in terms of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure.
However, Taiwan is weak in terms of prioritization of travel and tourism and natural and cultural resources -- 78th and 63rd, respectively, according to the survey.
Global tourism income has grown from US$2.1 billion in 1950 to US$622.7 billion in 2004, the forum said, adding that by last year, the income was predicted to account for 10.3 percent of the world's GDP.
By then, a total of 234 million jobs were predicted to have been created, representing 8.2 percent of the world's employed population, the forum forecast.
Attaching great importance to the development of tourism, the DPP government has recently launched plans aimed at doubling the number of visitors to Taiwan to 5 million this year.
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