LONDON – Japan came ninth on the World Economic Forum’s list of the most tourist-friendly countries for 2015, rising from 14th place in the previous 2013 rankings, the WEF said Wednesday.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Japan was second only to Australia, which ranked seventh worldwide in the WEF’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index.
“Japan’s human resources are highly qualified and excel in terms of treatment of customers, where Japan is ranked first globally,” the WEF said.
This suggested a high appraisal of the country’s so-called omotenashi tradition of hospitality.
In addition, Japan was ranked second in the extent of staff training.
Japan’s success can also be “attributed to its rich cultural resources with unique cultural heritage and efficient ground and air transport infrastructure,” the WEF said.
It came first in terms of quality of railroad infrastructure, second in the number of oral and intangible cultural expressions, and fourth in the number of large sports stadiums.
Japan has also built “impressive” information communication technology readiness, launching a paid wireless Internet service with access points across the country, “which is appreciated by visitors and supports the business operations of firms,” the WEF said.
“On a less positive note, Japan is not a price-competitive destination,” the WEF said. Japan came 82nd in ticket taxes and airport charges and 126th in fuel price levels.
Spain topped the overall rankings, followed by France and Germany. Of the top 10 countries, six were in Europe.