The contribution to the UK economy of its outbound travel sector has grown by more than one third to £37.1 billion since 2014 according to new figures from Abta.
According to Abta’s new Driving Growth report, the UK outbound travel sector now accounts for 1.8% of GDP taking into account direct spend on travel services and holidays, as well as associated products and services such as duty free, cameras and sun cream.
The report, Abta’s third, demonstrates – the association says – both the “significant contribution” the sector makes to the UK and its “strength, resilience and ability to grow amid global challenges and uncertainty”.
“Too often the contribution of the UK outbound travel industry is overlooked in favour of a myth that overseas travel creates a ‘tourism deficit’ with money going overseas which could be spent in the UK,” said Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer.
“The evidence is clear this is not the case – the benefits of the outbound sector are being felt by the wider economy in terms of jobs, support for other businesses and tax contributions to the Treasury.
“In order to continue to grow and thrive, the government needs to make sure the right tax and policy framework is in place.”
Abta’s analysis finds travellers now spend more in the UK before they travel than they do while abroad. UK travellers spent £45.7 billion in 2017, compared to £44.8 billion overseas – an increase of almost £10 billion since 2014.
The direct economic impact of travel – the revenue generated from specific travel services, such as flights, and package holidays – is £15.9 billion (0.8% of GDP). This is up from £11.7 billion in 2014.
Some 221,000 jobs are now directly employed throughout the sector, which supports a further 526,000 jobs in the wider economy – up from 214,000 and 435,000 respectively in 2014.