Switzerland, Austria and Germany top a list of 130 destinations rated for tourism competitiveness by the World Economic Forum.
But the list, unveiled at ITB in Berlin last week, drew immediate criticism from the World Tourism Organisation of the United Nations (UNWTO) for being overly harsh on developing countries.
UNWTO deputy general-secretary Geoffrey Lipman said it could discourage investment in poorer countries.
The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index is based on factors such as the business environment, infrastructure, human, cultural and natural resources, and sustainability.
It ranks the UK number six in the world, with Spain the leading Mediterranean destination at number five, Australia ranks fourth and the US seventh.
World Economic Forum senior economist Jennifer Blanke said: “The top three excel in infrastructure as well as cultural resources.”
But Lipman said: “People will look at this as a beauty contest. But the report does not adequately reflect issues of poverty and climate change. We want these factored in.
“We have to change the way we do business and change the way we measure competitiveness in view of climate change. We need a lot of money to help poorer countries.”