For the first time ever, the UK has made it into the top ten of a list ranking countries for their tourism competitiveness. The index is published by the Global Tourism Forum and this year sees the UK ranked in seventh place. The list was last compiled two years ago and placed the UK 11th. This year the table consists of 139 countries.

The number one spot has once again gone to Switzerland. Germany came second, France third and Austria fourth. Although there have been worries that the hike in Air Passenger Duty might harm the UK’s competitiveness in terms of tourism and aviation the country still put in an impressive performance.

However VisitBritain’s chairman, Christopher Rodrigues, admitted that the ranking was not so much to do with current policies but rather because of the UK’s inheritance. In individual categories, the UK also did well. It came fifth in terms of air transport infrastructure, eighth for its human resources and third for its cultural resources.

Unfortunately the country was let down by its airport charges and air ticket prices. The UK ranked 134th with only Chad, the Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal putting in a worse performance.

Air Passenger Duty went up at the end of last year. The tax was responsible for some fares going up by as much as 50 per cent. According to Mr Rodrigues, the tourism industry in the UK is doing well. He added that events such as the Royal Wedding, the Queen’s jubilee and next year’s Olympic Games could only help.