Iceland once again boasted the fastest-growing market in percentage terms in 2017, albeit from a small base.
The country tops the list compiled using a ranking based on forecast average annual growth in international arrivals (Compound Annual Growth
Rate, CAGR, in Figure 1).
These forecasts are based on factors such as capital investment, GDP and disposable income in main source markets.
GlobalData predicts Iceland will see average annual growth between now and 2021 of 11.7%, spurred by new budget flights and the expansion of Reykjavik’s Keflavik airport. Bottom of the table, in 60th place, is France, the world’s most visited nation, whose potential for growth is limited – GlobalData estimates this at just 1.1% per annum.
Second-placed Japan is the only other nation to have estimated double-digit growth potential. The depreciation of the yen, modernisation of air and seaports and the 2020 Olympics are helping its appeal.
All the top 10 countries boast estimated annual growth of at least 7.5%.
GlobalData also assigns star ratings to each of the 60 nations surveyed, ranking them in terms of tourism potential from very low to very high. The star rating is based on four elements of potential: significance (20%), competitiveness (20%), attractiveness (35%), and convenience (25%) to give an overall percentage score out of 100.
No country achieved a five-star rating this year, an accolade awarded to Singapore and Switzerland last year, which were both said to have “very high potential” with few barriers to expansion or demand.
Switzerland has slipped to three stars in 2018, after the strong franc and poor snowfall impacted demand. Singapore has been ranked four-star, together with six other countries: Austria, Portugal, Sri Lanka, the UK, the UAE and Hong Kong.
Sri Lanka is the only four-star rated country in the top 10. GlobalData says it “is expected to experience fast growth in the future”. Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals reached record levels in 2017, totalling 2.3 million international visitors. GlobalData says Sri Lanka is “investment-friendly and has improved its road and air infrastructure significantly”.
Ukraine has been elevated from a one-star to a two-star rating, thanks largely to its price competitiveness as a tourist destination, but Russia has lost a star.
Only seven of GlobalData’s top 60 countries rose through the ranks in 2017.
Portugal, the UAE, Norway, South Korea, the US, Egypt and Ukraine were all adjudged to have increased their attractiveness as a destination.
The biggest riser was Norway, which rose from 34th place to eighth, increasing its rating by 3.3 points. GlobalData took into account its number of new tourism and hotel projects, including the 13-storey New Munch Museum in Oslo.
Portugal rose from 15th to third, with a score that increased from 51.3 to 53.9 due to its low inflation, which was deemed to have increased its competitiveness.
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