Travel and Tourism
Employment in Tourism
Tourism supports 2.6 million jobs, one in twelve jobs in the UK, and over 200,000 small and medium-sized enterprises. People are employed in tourism right across the country, in every constituency, in cities, in seaside towns and in rural communities. Jobs are at all skills levels, offering seasonal or flexible employment as well as fulfilling long-term careers. Tourism is forecast to account for 2.9 million jobs by 2020, 250,000 more than is the case today.
The table below shows trends in inbound tourism for the period 2000 to 2010 based on the Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey. The number of visits peaked in 2007 at 32.8 million, since when there has been a decline of around 10%. After a long period during which the average spend per visit hovered at a little under £500 there has been a marked increase in the past three years, driven on by the relative weakness of sterling.
In line with many other developed economies the UK has an international tourism balance of payments deficit. This increased both rapidly and consistently in the decade to 2008, but shrank by around 26% in 2009 and a further 1% in 2010 as Britons took fewer overseas trips.
Top 10 Markets
The top ten inbound markets for the UK in terms of number of visits during 2010 accounted for 68% of all visits. Looking at spending by inbound visitors, the top ten markets account for 56% of all spending, with the USA worth almost twice as much as the next most valuable market, Germany.
Visits abroad by UK residents have fallen quite substantially in recent years, particularly for holiday and business purposes. This has resulted in a reduction of the deficit associated with travel, from a peak of over £20 billion in 2008 to £14.2 billion in 2010.
From the Office for National Statistics report
UK residents made an estimated 119 million trips in the UK in 2010, representing 373 million bed nights and £20.8 billion in spending.
• Holidays are the main purpose of trips taken (66% of all trips) and are even more important in terms of nights (73%) and spending (70%).
• Visits to friends and relatives (VFR) for mainly holiday trips account for one in five trips and nights away (19%) but are less important in terms of spending (12%).
• Business and work is the main purpose for around one in seven trips (15%) accounting for one in nine nights (11%). These are higher spending trips, accounting for a fifth (19%) of all tourism spending.
Tourism Trips taken in the UK between 2006 and 2010
As shown in the table above, the average annual percentage change between 2006 and 2010 has seen the number of trips decrease by just over 1% over this period. Bednights have decreased by 2% over the same period with spend remaining around the same level. 2009 almost matched 2006 for the number of trips taken (126.0m v 126.3m) following two years of decline
during 2007 and 2008 (123.5 and 117.7m). 2010 recorded the lowest number of trips for any year in the period with the exception of 2008.
On top of the domestic market in trips away (at least one night), UK residents spend an estimated £48 billion on day visits.
Tourism’s contribution to the economy
Tourism is Britain’s 5th largest industry, our 3rd largest export earner and worth £115 billion a year. Overseas visitors contribute £3 billion to the Treasury every year.
Tourism contributes £96.7bn to the economy in England (8.6% of GDP), £11.1bn in Scotland (10.4%), £6.2bn in Wales (13.3%) and £1.5bn in Northern Ireland (4.9%).
Tourism has potential to be Britain’s 4th fastest growing sector
• Forecast to be one of Britain’s best performing sectors over the coming
decade – GVA growing at 3.5% per annum
• Faster average annual growth than industries such as manufacturing, utilities, retailing and transport and communications
• Inbound visitor spend worth £16 billion, contributing more than £3 billion directly to the Treasury – the UK’s third largest export earner (behind chemicals and financial services)
• Spending by foreign visitors forecast to almost double to £31 billion in 2020 (growing 4.4% a year)
• Domestic spending by UK residents forecast to show growth of 2.6% a year, rising from £72 billion in 2010 to £113 billion in 2020, driven by strong growth in spending on day visits
The UK remains one of the world’s most attractive destinations for foreign visitors. In 2009, the UK ranked seventh in the international tourism league, behind the USA, Spain, France, Italy, China and Germany. But that is a slip down from fifth in 2005.
The UK tourism industry continues to lose global market share as it faces increasing competition from new destinations – down from 6.5% of spend in 1980 to 3.5% in 2009.
Being the host of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games could deliver a £2.1 billion boost to tourism. Hosting sporting events such as the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2015 Rugby World Cup is an opportunity to showcase Britain as a dynamic and contemporary destination. This is particularly important in the new growth markets of tourism across Asia as well as in core markets such as the USA where the UK tourism market has lost ground.