South Korea has ranked 15th in the World Economic Forum(WEF)'s Travel and Tourism Development Index (TTDI) 2021, a gauge of "factors and policies that enable the sustainable and resilient development of the travel and tourism sector."
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism revealed the ranking on Tuesday, an elevation of four notches from 2019 and the highest level South Korea has reached since the WEF began biennially compiling the index from 2007.
Japan topped the list of 117 countries followed by the U.S., Spain, France, Germany and Switzerland. Among Asian countries, Japan, Singapore, China, South Korea and Hong Kong came within the top 30.
In assessing the latest index, the WEF added new categories in light of changes resulting from COVID-19, including climate, environment, greenhouse gas emissions, and poverty and gender equality rates as well as accessibility to medical services.
The report said although there were more international tourists in January 2022 on-year compared to all of 2021 at 18 million, the figure was still 67 percent short of what it was in January of 2019, citing data from the UN World Tourism Organization.
It noted the importance of learning from recent and ongoing crises and adopting changes to "embed long-term inclusivity, sustainability and resilience into the travel and tourism sector as it faces evolving challenges and risks."