Experts from the World Economic Forum in Davos have released a rating of 130 countries by their competitiveness for tourism. Switzerland was found to be the best place for tourism on the basis of cost, safety, ecology, government policy on tourism, sanitation, hotel quality, UNESCO-acknowledged cultural attractions, multilingualism and 6 other criteria. Switzerland was followed by Austria, Germany, Australia and Spain. Russia ranked 64th.
The Davos experts noted in regard to Russia that its natural resources, cultural treasures and air transport place it in the top 35 tourist destinations. Those attractions are offset, however, by the countries rank of 127th for security (for the high number of traffic accidents, crime rate and “absence of faith in the police as protection against crime”) and 125th for government tourism policy. Outdated overland transport (83rd place) and a shortage of hotel accommodations (66th place) are also detractions in Russia.
Local observers admit that busses remain in use for 15 years in Russia, hotels are overpriced when available and customs agents are legendary for their unfriendliness. In addition, tourists from most countries have to obtain visas, property rights are weak in Russia and the government`s lack of interest in the tourism industry is clearly felt.
Several popular destinations ranked low on the Davos list. Egypt, for instance, ranked below Russia at 66th. France ranked 10th.