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03/08/2013

The World Economic Forum: your global fiscal experts -- and travel agent

SwissWho knew that the World Economic Forum provides vacation advice besides global financial guidance?

Turns out that for the past seven years, the WEF has conducted in-depth analysis of the travel and tourism industry and competitiveness of economies around the world.

The WEF ranks destinations according to a set of diverse indicators from policy regulations to health and hygiene. 

At the top of the list is -- no surprise here – Switzerland, one of the richest countries in the world and home to many multinational conglomerates. The rest of the top eight are as follows -- Germany, Austria, Spain, the United Kingdom, the U.S., France and Canada.

Cyprus, a land of bright sunny beaches and a troubled banking system, ranks 29. Greece, scene of some of the worst anti-austerity riots in the last couple years and home to incredible ancient ruins from the beginnings of Western civilization, ranks 32.

Tajikistan ranks 114 while Pakistan comes in at 122. Last is Haiti.

The travel industry is an important job creation tool, especially now since many countries suffer high unemployment, the WEF notes.

The travel sector accounts for 9 per cent of GDP, or a total of $6 trillion (U.S.), providing 120 million direct jobs, the WEF says.

“Although the global economy is showing signs of fragile recovery, the world is becoming increasingly complex and interconnected,” the report states.

International tourist arrivals grew by 4 per cent in 2012 and it is expected to increase by 3 per cent in 2013.

Tanya Talaga is the Star's Global Economics correspondent. Follow her on Twitter @tanyatalaga 

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