UK holiday rental sector worth £4bn – study

A major new study into the UK’s holiday rental sector has revealed that the industry is worth more than £4 billion (US$6.3bn).

The report by HomeAway Inc, which was conducted in conjunction with the London School of Economics (LSE), estimated that the total spend by holiday rental clients in the UK is now in excess of  £4.35bn per year, and that the industry is responsible for creating over 95,000 jobs nationwide.

expenditure by tourists staying in self-catering accommodation is growing faster than Expenditure in any other accommodation category
expenditure by tourists staying in self-catering accommodation is growing faster than Expenditure in any other accommodation category

Additionally, expenditure by tourists staying in self-catering accommodation is growing faster than expenditure in any other accommodation category.

The holiday rental industry was also found to contribute an estimated £100 million in tax revenue to the UK government, and net additional expenditure by holiday rental clients is estimated at £2.2bn per year.

Thirty-six percent of holiday rental owners are considered likely to buy an additional rental home in the next five years, and the report suggested that there is “significant potential” to grow inbound tourism from emerging markets like South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

“This report suggests that the holiday rental industry contributes to the UK economy by increasing tourism income and creating jobs. These effects are felt in regions across the country,” said Kath Scanlon, research fellow at LSE.  “Holiday rental visitors stay longer at their destinations and therefore spend more – in fact, many visit rural or seaside areas specifically to stay in attractive holiday rental properties. This has helped areas like Cornwall where tourism has pumped new pounds into previously struggling locales.”

The percentage of visitors to self-catering rentals has risen sharply between 2008 and 2013, with London alone seeing a 485% increase during this period. Yorkshire (56%) and Southwest England (30%) also saw strong gains.

And this growth appears to be driving employment. More than three quarters of holiday rental owners employ staff to assist with property maintenance. Nationally, owners spend an average of about £1,600 per year per property on hiring employees.

In Cornwall and North Yorkshire – two locations with underemployment issues – the figures are even higher. In these areas owners spend on average £2,500 and £3,000 respectively per property.

“This report is the first step in showing the significant value that the holiday rental market brings to the economy as a whole, as well as to individual communities which depend on tourism,” said Erica Chang, UK regional director of HomeAway. “We are excited to be able to demonstrate this through figures that contribute to employment and local commerce. There is more research that is needed, so now we will begin to look more closely at the traveller experience, and the impact and opportunities this has for local commerce.”

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