Driving growth: The economic value of outbound travel

Driving growth report cover
Driving growth: The economic value of outbound travel

Outbound travel’s economic contribution in the UK totals £28.3 billion, representing 1.8% of UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This includes a direct contribution of £11.7 billion, which is equivalent to 0.8% of UK GDP. The sector directly sustains over 214,000 UK jobs, on par with the country’s machinery and equipment manufacturing industry, and represents a greater UK employment contribution than that made by those involved in the manufacture of food products and electrical equipment.

Alongside domestic and inbound tourism, outbound travel remains an integral part of the UK’s vibrant tourism mix. All three sectors of the industry – inbound, outbound and domestic – are interconnected and interdependent, with shared infrastructure, shared products, and a shared customer base.

Outbound travel’s contribution to the UK economy has often been underestimated, with economic analysis of travel and tourism often focusing on the economic impact of inbound and domestic tourists. An initial study that we commissioned in 2012 worked to dispel the myth that UK residents travelling overseas diverted money away from UK businesses and the Exchequer by highlighting the economic activity and jobs outbound travel creates within the UK economy.

The launch of this report seeks to once again challenge any perceived knowledge of a ‘tourism deficit’.

The findings of this report demonstrate the enduring value of outbound travel to the UK economy, while highlighting how outbound travel businesses, and the supply chain that supports them, generate jobs and growth right across the UK. 

The report demonstrates the enormous potential for growth that outbound travel possesses. On the cusp of recovering to pre-recession levels, the sector is in prime position to maximise the economic benefits of growing household disposable income.

The right policy and tax framework from the Government, alongside economic growth and returning customer confidence will be crucial in ensuring that the UK’s tourism mix reaches its full potential in the years ahead.