Research conducted by World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has revealed tourism is the fastest growing sector in the UK. According to the organisation, the market accounts for 11.9% of all jobs, ahead of financial services (8.9%) and banking (3.4%) and generates GBP 232 billion (USD 288.31 billion) annually.
The launch of the research falls on the 50th anniversary of the Development in Tourism Act, which was introduced in July 1969, and saw the establishment of the British Tourist Authority (BTA) and tourist boards for England, Scotland and Wales.
The aim was to give responsibility to the BTA for promoting the development of tourism to and within Great Britain, and to oversee the improvement of tourist amenities and facilities in order to attract both domestic and foreign visitors. Today, the UK is the world’s seventh most popular tourist destination and the fourth in Europe, with almost 40 million visitors each year.
The benchmarking study from WTTC, compares the industry’s economic impact to eight other key sectors (agriculture, mining, health, automotive manufacturing, retail, financial services, banking and construction), across 26 countries and ten world regions.
The report, sponsored by American Express, reveals that in the UK, of the sectors studied, tourism is the fifth largest sector in terms of GDP contribution (11%), ahead of banking (6.1%) and automotive manufacturing (3.2%).
“Tourism sector underpins much of UK spending.”
Tourism was the second fastest growing sector (3.9% per annum) during 2010-18, behind automotive manufacturing (5.6% per annum), where stronger growth came from a much lower base.
Gloria Guevara, president of WTTC said: “As we know and is now reaffirmed by this benchmarking research, the tourism sector underpins much of UK spending and supports jobs. WTTC commends the UK government for recognising the clear importance of the industry as a driver of economic growth and for their strategy in spreading the benefits of the industry across the country.”