The UK will be increasingly reliant on travel and tourism in 2012 as jobs and economic growth in the sector outstrip the wider economy.
According to a report released today by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the industry will grow by 1.3 per cent in 2012 – over double the rate of growth in the wider economy, predicted to be 0.6 per cent by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
This rate of growth means that travel and tourism industry is expected to directly contribute £35.6 billion and almost 950,000 jobs to the British economy.
When the wider economic impacts of the industry are taken into account, travel and tourism is forecast to contribute over £100 billion to the UK economy and generate 2.3 million jobs – or one in 13 of all jobs in the UK.
During 2012 some 30 million people will visit the UK, as the country maintains its position as one of the top ten most-visited nations.
In 2011 the industry grew by 4.1 per cent in the UK – or five times the rate of the economy as a whole; according to the Office of National Statistics, the UK economy grew by 0.7 per cent in 2011.
David Scowsill, president of WTTC, said: “At a time of significant economic hardship, the travel and tourism industry is helping to beat the recession by generating jobs and growth at a faster rate than the wider UK economy.
“2012 is likely to be bolstered by the cheap pound, the continued trend for domestic holidays, and the extra Bank Holiday weekend for the Golden Jubilee.
“The London Olympics are unlikely to have any significant effect.”
Figures for the UK for 2012 show a marked difference to the European Union as a whole.
A tightening of consumer spending, uncertainty around the future of the Eurozone and peripheral economies of Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal and the impact of austerity measures kicking-in will result in a contraction of the industry of 0.3 per cent.
The WTTC’s annual Economic Impact Report also shows that the global tourism industry is set for a milestone year as the industry’s direct contribution to the global economy is expected to pass $2 trillion in GDP and 100 million jobs.
The report forecasts that the global travel and tourism industry will grow by 2.8 per cent in 2012, marginally faster than the global rate of economic growth, predicted to be 2.5 per cent.
This rate of growth means that travel and tourism industry is expected to directly contribute $2 trillion to the global economy and sustain some 100.3 million jobs.
When the wider economic impacts of the industry are taken into account, travel and tourism is forecast to contribute some $6.5 trillion to the global economy and generate 260 million jobs – or one in 12 of all jobs on the planet.
In 2011, tourism’s total economic contribution, taking account of its direct, indirect and induced impacts, was US$6.3 trillion in GDP, 255 million jobs, US$743 billion in investment and US$1.2 trillion in exports.
This contribution represented nine per cent of GDP, one in 12 jobs, five per cent of investment and 5% of exports.
To view the full report, please click here.