The tourism sector will demonstrate its enduring ability to create jobs and prosperity for the UK economy in 2015 with the sector forecast to grow by four per cent, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council which publishes its annual economic impact assessment of the sector.
In 2014, the sector contributed £187.7 billion in GDP and 4.2 million jobs to the British economy.
During 2015, the sector’s GDP contribution is forecast to grow by four per cent and employment by two per cent.
This demonstrates the sector’s enduring ability to generate economic growth and create jobs at a faster rate than the national economy, which is due to grow by 2.9 per cent in 2015.
By the end of 2015, the Travel & Tourism sector will contribute £195.2 billion, almost 11 per cent of the UK’s GDP, and 4.3 million jobs, 13 per cent of total employment, once all direct, indirect and induced impacts are taken into account.
WTTC president David Scowsill said: “The UK is the fifth largest tourism economy in the world, with the sector contributing over £187 billion to the wider economy.
“This is one of the largest economic sectors, driving economic growth, well-being and prosperity. It creates jobs at different skills levels and in areas where other employment opportunities are scarce.”
“WTTC urges the next UK government to take three major steps to ensure that this sector, which contributes one in nine of all jobs in the UK, continues to grow.
“Firstly, there is a need to make visa applications easier, particularly for high-spending Chinese travellers.
“Secondly, the Air Passenger Duty tax, which remains among the highest in the world, must be reformed.
“Thirdly, a decision must be taken quickly on addressing the chronic under-supply of airport capacity in the south-east.”
Also released today, research conducted for WTTC shows that the sector could employ 352,000 fewer people and contribute £17 billion less in GDP to the UK economy over the next ten years, when compared to WTTC current growth forecasts, if government and private companies fail to implement policies which promote proactive and careful talent management.
The research on talent gaps in tourism, for the first time, quantifies the sheer scale of the human resource challenge for UK’s sector and the potential impact of the skill shortage on the 2024 projections.