ABTA’s latest report ‘Driving Growth – The economic value of outbound travel’ reveals that the overall contribution of the UK outbound travel industry to the UK economy is £37.1bn – a growth of 36% since 2014.
This growth has happened during quite a challenging time for global tourism - a weak Pound, Brexit, the threat of terrorism and ongoing political and economic uncertainty here and abroad. This demonstrates the resilience of outbound travel in the face of uncertainty.
The report also puts paid to some longstanding myths about outbound travel creating a tourism deficit. Most notably, the research shows that travellers now spend more in the UK before they travel than they do when abroad - £45.7bn compared to £44.8bn overseas.
Our industry is also a big supporter of jobs - directly employing 221,000 jobs and supporting 526,000 jobs in the wider economy. That’s more jobs than the UK’s iron and steel or electrical equipment manufacturing industries, not to mention the fishing industry.
ABTA will be taking this evidence to parliamentarians and officials over the coming months to help them understand the real value of the outbound travel industry. We’ll also point out that with the right policy and tax frameworks, travel and tourism can be a catalyst for further growth and job creation right across the UK.
The report was launched at ABTA’s event ‘Brexit and the Future of the UK Travel’ which took place in central London on 31 January, with PwC and Travlaw partners for the event.
Guests at the event heard about the implications of Brexit for the travel industry, as well as the possible political scenarios remaining. Key themes covered throughout included the underlying strength of UK outbound travel, and resilience of UK travellers; business preparedness and the potential impact of disruption that would occur in the event of a no-deal exit at the end of March, and the importance of keeping customers informed of the facts in the face of heightened media rhetoric.
Speakers also reflected on the progress that has been made in securing agreement around some of the industry’s key priorities, including on aviation and visa-free travel, even in the event of no-deal scenario.
Driving Growth – The economic value of outbound travel is available to read at www.abta.com/drivinggrowth
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive