The countries where everything required by travel and tourism just works

new york skyscrapers. photo by sharon mollerus, flickr, CC license
New York City by Sharon Mollerus.

When a traveler boards a train or airplane, arrives in another country, takes a taxi to a hotel and checks in, he or she has experienced many aspects of services and infrastructure required in travel. Travel and tourism is estimated to be one of the largest industries in the world that comprises about 10% of the global GDP and employment. It is a big business, and many countries want a bigger piece of it. Which countries are ready for travelers and tourists right now? The World Economic Forum (WEF) has the answer.

The travel and tourism index created by WEF is not intended to measure the most popular destinations, cities, or countries, nor does it recommend that the highest ranking countries would be the perfect destinations for your next vacation. Instead, the index measures which countries have done their homework, and have created the required infrastructure for travel, services travelers need, established necessary transportation options, and are developing all of it in environmental friendly and sustainable manner.

In practice, countries that have been ranked high by WEF have everything ready for travelers so that they have all the essential services they need, and can enjoy their business trip or vacation without extra stress about organizing, for instance, accommodation, food, or transportation. Safety and respect for the environment are important aspects as well.

Top 20 countries ranked by WEF in the Travel and Tourism Index 2024 (the number after each country name is its index):

murcia, spain, costa calida. central plaza of city. photo by arihak.
Murcia city, Spain.
  1. United States 5.24
  2. Spain 5.18
  3. Japan 5.09
  4. France 5.07
  5. Australia 5.00
  6. Germany 5.00
  7. United Kingdom 4.96
  8. China 4.94
  9. Italy 4.90
  10. Switzerland 4.81
  11. Canada 4.81
  12. Portugal 4.78
  13. Singapore 4.76
  14. Korea, Rep. 4.74
  15. Austria 4.65
  16. Netherlands 4.64
  17. Denmark 4.63
  18. United Arab Emirates 4.62
  19. Sweden 4.57
  20. Finland 4.52

You can view the full index for all 119 countries here.

Top 20 features 12 countries in Europe, 4 in Asia, 2 in America, and Australia and UAE. It is not a coincidence that the world’s most popular tourist destination countries, such as France, Spain, UK, and Italy are ranked high. Popular European destinations have actively developed travel opportunities for a century or more.

How did WEF create the travel and tourism index? The relevant data was fetched from consultancies, WTO, UN, WHO, Unesco, and from other organizations. A framework consisting of five segments is the basis for calculating the index. The five key segments are:

  • Enabling factors: business environment, safety and security, health, labor market, technology readiness.
  • Policy and enabling conditions: openness to travel and tourism, cost level.
  • Infrastructure and services: ground, port and air transportation, tourist services.
  • Travel resources: natural, cultural, and non-leisure resources.
  • Sustainability: environment, sosioeconomic impact.
a scenery in eastern finland: Koli. image by arihak.
A scenery in eastern Finland: Koli and Lake Pielinen.