The tourism industry in the UK is nearly five times the size of automotive manufacturing and supports almost as many jobs as the financial sector.
This is according to new research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) sponsored by American Express.
The research, undertaken by Oxford Economics, shows that the sector’s direct contribution to the UK GDP is £35 billion which is almost five times the GDP of automotive manufacturing and larger than chemical manufacturing and the mining sector.
Travel’s total contribution to GDP in the UK was £101 billion in 2011, or 6.7 per cent of total GDP.
This compares 2.3 per cent for automotive manufacturing, 1.9 per cent for mining and 4.1 per cent for chemicals.
With 2.3 million direct, indirect and induced sustained jobs in the UK, tourism directly supports nearly as many jobs as the financial service sector in the UK.
The new research also showed that tourism’s contribution to GDP is faster than most other sectors in the UK.
It will grow by 4.1 per cent over the next ten years, a faster growth rate than the total economy and all other industries presented in this study.
It also highlights that tourism is a significant source of exports for revenue for the UK.
In 2011, visitor exports totalled £25 billion which was 13.2 per cent of all service exports and 5.1 per cent of all exports including goods and services.
Bill Glenn, president global corporate payments and business travel, American Express, said: “With each release of regional data from the latest WTTC research, we continue to see the value that travel can bring to GDP, job creation and other economic factors.
“We are pleased to sponsor this research and provide the industry with another valuable asset to use to promote the benefits of travel.”