GENEVA, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Switzerland was ranked first in terms of the travel and tourism industry competitiveness, followed by Germany, Austria, Spain and Britain, according to a report released Thursday by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
This was the second time Switzerland topped rankings in the biennial report, in which France fell from third place in 2011 to seventh and Sweden dropped from fifth to ninth. Spain moved up four places, Britain two and Canada up one.
Alongside Switzerland and Germany, the United States and Singapore maintained their positions, in sixth and tenth place respectively. China was ranked 45th, down by 6 places over 2011.
The index covered 140 countries and regions and used a combination of data from publicly available sources, international travel and tourism institutions and experts.
With travel and tourism accounting for one in 11 jobs globally, the report highlighted that the industry has proven resilient during the global economic downturn and could be a key factor in paving the way for developing and emerging markets to diversify into higher value economic activities.
Jennifer Blanke, WEF chief economist and head of the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network, said the industry resilience has been driven by the growth of the middle class in emerging markets.
"Better policies, harnessing technology and facilitating the movement of people over borders will allow the industry to capitalize on this tailwind and support rising prosperity into the future," Blanke said.