Cheer up Mr Osborne, Travel & Tourism still Triple A for UK Economy

UK industry is economy’s hero in 2012

New research released today by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) shows that the UK Travel & Tourism industry has outperformed the UK economy in 2012 by growing its contribution to GDP by 0.5%, compared with 0.1% whole GDP growth.

According to WTTC’s research,Travel & Tourism’s total economic contribution in 2012 – taking account of its direct, indirect and induced impacts – was £106.3bn in GDP, £8.9billion in investment (4% of total investment) and £25.3bn in exports* (5% of total exports).

The industry supported more than 2.42 million jobs in 2012 (8% of UK total employment) with a forecasted 1% expansion in 2013.

According to the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the UK hosted 29.2 million visitors in 2012, whose total spending increased by 2%. WTTC and UNWTO predict that the number of international travellers to the UK will rise by 2% to 29.8 million this year.

David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC, said: “Travel and Tourism has been a real hero for the British economy this year. The UK is the only European G20 country where Travel & Tourism outperformed its economy in 2012. The growth and saviour of the industry in the UK this year was leisure spending and this is very likely to have been driven by recent events such as The Royal Wedding, the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics”.

WTTC is predicting the UK Travel & Tourism industry will expand its total contribution to GDP by 1.7% in 2013, compared with the 2.4% predicted for global economic Travel & Tourism growth.

David Scowsill added: “This year’s results hammer home that Travel & Tourism is an important driver for UK economic development and for job creation. But the UK’s restrictive visa and tax regimes are holding back further economic growth. The British Government is charging the highest Air Passenger Duty tax in the world, insisting on lengthy & costly visa application processes, whilst postponing decisions on key infrastructure expansion. WTTC is calling on the UK Government to loosen visa bureaucracy, reduce high air passenger duty and improve airport capacity. The UK government is not maximising the opportunity that this industry provides to stimulate job creation and economic growth.”

Among the 20 largest global economies (the G20), South Korea, China, South Africa and Indonesia performed best. Growth of less than 1% in Europe and 2% in the United States was counter-balanced by 10% growth in South Korea, 7% in China and South Africa and 6% in Indonesia.

David Scowsill continued: “The UK is being left behind by emerging market destinations such as China, which is investing and seeing strong growth. In fact, WTTC forecasts that China will overtake the United States to be the world’s biggest Travel and Tourism economy by 2023”.

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