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UK’s economic recovery will be ‘powered by Travel & Tourism sector’ says WTTC

A new report has revealed that the Travel & Tourism’s sector will have a significant role to play in helping to boost the UK’s economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The World Travel & Tourism Council's (WTTC) Economic Impact Report (EIR), shows the vital part the sector played in driving the UK economy last year.

In terms of the Travel & Tourism sector’s contribution to GDP, the UK economy is the six largest in the world. According to the 2020 EIR, in 2019 Travel & Tourism was responsible for almost 4m jobs, 11 per cent of the country’s workforce. It also generated nearly £200bn GDP, contributing 9 per cent to the UK economy. The latest figures show the GDP growth rose significantly from 2018, which saw a 0.4 per cent GDP rise, compared to a 1.3 per cent GDP growth rate in 2019.

The report also showed that international visitor spend totalled £28.2bn, representing 4.2 per cent of the UK’s total exports.

Gloria Guevara, president and CEO, WTTC, said: “WTTC’s 2020 Economic Impact Report (EIR) shows how vital the Travel & Tourism sector is to the UK economy, which is responsible for almost four million jobs. This huge contribution is why we believe it is vital that the right measures are put in place to protect the sector and all the livelihoods which depend on it.

“Our analysis underscores how vital the Travel & Tourism sector will be in powering the recovery of the UK economy, generating new jobs and driving visitors back to the UK, having a positive economic domino effect on suppliers large and small throughout the industry.

“Until then, it is crucial that all governments help to protect this sector – the backbone of the global economy – which is currently in a fight for survival. Our research shows that up to 75 million jobs globally are at immediate risk, with more than one million in peril in the UK alone, highlighting how critically the sector requires support.”

WTTC’s EIR also revealed that between 2016 and 2018, the US and France accounted for 10 per cent of all visitors to the UK during 2019, with Germany accounting for 9 per cent, and Ireland and Spain making up 7 per cent.

The report also showed that in the UK leisure spending contributed two times more than business spend, totalling 67 per cent, compared to 33 per cent.

On a global level, the Travel & Tourism sector outperformed the 2.5 per cent rate of global GDP growth for the ninth consecutive year in a row, experiencing an annual GDP growth rate of 3.5 per cent. This made it the global economy’s third highest sector in terms of GDP growth.

The EIR showed that the Travel & Tourism sector supports 1 in 10 jobs (330m), making a 10.3 per cent contribution to global GDP and generating a quarter of all new jobs.

A breakdown by WTTC revealed the top performing region worldwide was Asia Pacific, with a growth rate of 5.5 per cent, followed by the Middle East at 5.3 per cent. The US and EU both demonstrated a growth rate of 2.3 per cent, whilst the fastest growing country was Saudi Arabia.

The WTTC’s 2020 EIR UK report is available here.