Government efforts to promote the tourism industry suffered a blow yesterday, with a global survey showing Taiwan plunging 22 places to 52nd and falling three notches to seventh in Asia in a world ranking of competitiveness.
The Geneva-based World Economic Forum's (WEF) Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2008 showed Taiwan not only lagged behind many Western countries, but had also been overtaken by regional competitors, such as South Korea (31), Malaysia (32) and Thailand (42).
The WEF launched its Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report last year, when Taiwan, scoring 4.82 on the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), ranked 30th out of 124 countries, and fourth in Asia, after Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.
However, in this year's results, Taiwan scored 4.23 and lagged behind Asian neighbors such as Hong Kong (14), Singapore (16) and Japan (23). China ranked 62nd, an improvement from last year's 71st position.
Switzerland maintained top spot in this year's report, followed by Austria and Germany, while Australia, Spain, the UK, the US, Sweden, Canada and France rounded out the top 10 in that order.
The WEF gauged areas and countries' travel and tourism potential based on three major criteria -- travel and tourism regulatory framework; business environment and infrastructure; and human, cultural and natural resources.
The nation ranked 29th in terms of "business environment and infrastructure," but suffered huge drops in the "regulatory framework" and "human, cultural and natural resources" indexes, falling from 28th to 69th and 23rd to 79th respectively.
Based on the report's 14 "pillars," Taiwan was strong in "information and communication technology infrastructure," placing 10th, and in "ground transport infrastructure and human resources," ranking 13th.
However, weaknesses in "health and hygiene" (ranking 101st) and natural resources (103rd) pulled the nation's ranking down.
"Environmental sustainability" was given greater importance this year, underlining the fact that environmental conservation was firmly at the center of discussion on national travel and tourism competitiveness and in light of its importance in achieving long-term sustainable growth in the sector.
Taiwan fared poorly in the index of environmental sustainability, ranking 75th in environmental-related policies, compared with 21st last year.
UNDER WATCH: Taiwan will have to establish a standardized nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus and monitor its spread, the CDC said The Langya henipavirus, which can be transmitted from animals to humans, has been discovered in China, with 35 human infections reported so far, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said, adding that the nation would establish a nucleic acid testing method to identify the virus. A study titled “A Zoonotic Henipavirus in Febrile Patients in China” that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday said that a new henipavirus associated with a fever-causing human illness was identified in China. The study said an investigation identified 35 patients with acute infection of the Langya henipavirus in China’s Shandong
MISSILE PATHS: Certain information on the Chinese missile fire was not disclosed to maintain secrecy over military intelligence-gathering capabilities, the MND said Military experts yesterday speculated on the implication of the government’s tight-lipped response and the lack of air-raid sirens during the first day of China’s military drills the previous day. On Thursday, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) launched 11 Dongfeng-series ballistic missiles into waters north, east and south of Taiwan, a day after US House of Representative Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s departure from the country, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said. The Japanese Ministry of Defense said that China fired nine missiles toward Taiwan, including four that flew over Taiwan proper. However, China’s exhibition of force failed to terrorize the local populace, because
If any war were to break out between the US and China, one trigger might be the increasingly frequent fighter jet encounters near Taiwan. Almost every day, Taiwanese fighter pilots hop in their US-made F-16s to intercept Chinese warplanes screaming past their territory. The encounters probe the nation’s defenses and force the pilots on both sides to avoid mistakes that could lead to a crisis that spins out of control. “I didn’t know whether they would fire at me,” said retired colonel Mountain Wang, recounting a tense five-minute confrontation he had with Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) jets more than a decade
INCREASINGLY EMBOLDENED: China can no longer be dismissed as inexperienced, demonstrating an ability to coordinate land and sea missile systems, an expert said Beijing’s largest-ever exercises around Taiwan have offered essential clues into its plans for a grueling blockade in the event of an attack on Taiwan, and revealed an increasingly emboldened Chinese military, experts said. The visit to Taiwan by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi — second in line to the presidency — sparked outrage from Beijing, which launched vast military maneuvers around the nation, even at the risk of partially exposing its plans to the US and its Asian allies. Mobilizing fighter planes, helicopters and warships, the drills aim to simulate a blockade of Taiwan and include practicing an “attack on