26 Jun

Value of tourism highlighted at Travel Matters

Transport Secretary addresses annual policy event as new research shows value of leisure aviation to UK economy

ABTA – The Travel Association today unveiled the headline findings of a new report on the value of leisure aviation to the UK economy at its annual Travel Matters conference in Westminster.

Prepared by Cebr on behalf of ABTA, the report looks at the contribution of leisure aviation to the economy. Leisure aviation covers holidaymakers, those visiting friends and relatives (VFR) and other non-business related air passengers.* The research builds on a report, published by ABTA in 2012, that demonstrates the value of the UK’s tourism mix – inbound, outbound and domestic.

The report highlights leisure aviation’s significant economic impact, accounting for 1.1 per cent of UK GDP. This equates to a direct value of £14.1 billion annually. When taking account of the economic impact of leisure aviation in the wider economy, this value rises to £36.1 billion, or 2.8 per cent of GDP. This is larger than either the accounting or advertising industries. The report also highlights leisure aviation’s impact on jobs, supporting an estimated 1.2 per cent of total UK employment and equating to 289,000 full-time jobs across the whole of the UK. This represents more than the total number of jobs supported by the utilities industry.

The findings come as 200 senior industry figures and political stakeholders gathered in Westminster for ABTA’s Travel Matters event. Topics discussed ranged from the competitiveness of the UK’s travel and tourism sector and the opportunities, challenges and barriers to inspiring business and consumer confidence. Speakers at the event included the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport, ABTA’s Chief Executive, Mark Tanzer, Craig Kreeger, Virgin Atlantic's new Chief Executive Officer and Ben Reid OBE, Chief Executive of The Midcounties Co-operative.

Mark Tanzer, CEO, ABTA said: “With decisive action needed on aviation capacity, it’s vital that the Government takes into account all aviation needs. Leisure aviation is often seen as a lesser priority to business aviation, partly because until now there has been little research into this area; however these figures confirm the important contribution made by leisure aviation. Whatever plans the Government decide on for the future of aviation, it is vital that these plans take into account the UK’s unique aviation mix, whether it comprises cargo, business or leisure travel.”

The full Cebr report will be presented to the Airports Commission on 9 July when Mark Tanzer, CEO ABTA gives evidence to the Commission in Manchester.

Download presentations below:

Ben Reid OBE: Inspiring business confidence – barriers, challenges and opportunities

Graham Pickett: Inspiring consumer confidence in challenging economic times

*The report covers passengers flying into, out of or within the UK