UK’s economic recovery will be powered by Travel & Tourism sector says WTTC

UK Travel & Tourism GDP growth triples in a year

London, UK: A major new report has revealed Travel & Tourism’s crucial contribution to help kick-start, the UK’s economic recovery once the COVID-19 pandemic has been successfully combatted.

The publication by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, of its annual Economic Impact Report (EIR), shows the vital part the sector played in driving the UK economy last year. 

The UK economy is the six largest in the world in terms of the Travel & Tourism sector’s contribution to GDP. The latest figures show the GDP growth rose significantly from the previous year. This saw a 0.4% GDP rise, compared to a 1.3% GDP growth rate a year later in 2019, representing a triple growth spike.

According to the 2020 EIR, during 2019, Travel & Tourism was responsible for almost four million jobs, or 11% of the country’s total workforce. It also generated nearly £200 billion GDP, or 9% to the UK economy. The latest figures show the GDP growth rose significantly from the previous year which saw a 0.4% GDP rise, compared to a 1.3% GDP growth rate a year later.

The comprehensive report also showed international visitor spend totaled a staggering £28.2 billion, representing 4.2% of the UK’s total exports.

Gloria Guevara, President & CEO, said: “WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report (EIR) shows how vital the Travel & Tourism sector is to the UK economy, which is responsible for almost four million jobs. This huge contribution is why we believe it is vital that the right measures are put in place to protect the sector and all the livelihoods which depend on it.

“Our analysis underscores how vital the Travel & Tourism sector will be in powering the recovery of the UK economy, generating new jobs and driving visitors back to the UK, having a positive economic domino effect on suppliers large and small throughout the industry.

“Until then, it is crucial that all governments help to protect this sector – the backbone of the global economy – which is currently in a fight for survival. Our research shows that up to 75 million jobs globally are at immediate risk, with more than one million in peril in the UK alone, highlighting how critically the sector requires support.”

WTTC’s EIR revealed between 2016 and 2018, the US and France each accounted for 10% of all visitors to the UK during 2019, with Germany reaching 9%, and Ireland and Spain level pegging at 7%.

The report also showed that in the UK leisure spending exceeded business spend by two to one, accounting for 67%, compared to 33%.

On a global level, the Travel & Tourism sector outperformed the 2.5% rate of global GDP growth for the ninth consecutive year in a row, thanks to an annual GDP growth rate of 3.5%. This made it the global economy’s third highest sector in terms of GDP growth.

The EIR shows the sector supporting 1 in 10 jobs (330 million), making a 10.3% contribution to global GDP and generating one in four of all new jobs.

A breakdown by WTTC shows Asia Pacific to be the top performing region worldwide with an impressive growth rate of 5.5%, followed very closely by the Middle East at 5.3%. The US and EU both demonstrated a steady growth rate of 2.3%, while the fastest growing country was Saudi Arabia.