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New research released by VisitBritain

Tourism growth to outstrip manufactoring

New research released by VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, at the start of British Tourism Week forecasts that tourism will be one of UK’s best performing sectors over the coming decade (2010-2020), with the value added contribution to the economy growing at 3.5 % per annum. This would mean tourism showing faster growth than more recognised industries such as manufacturing, utilities, retailing and transport and communications…

New research released by VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, at the start of British Tourism Week forecasts that tourism will be one of UK’s best performing sectors over the coming decade (2010-2020), with the value added contribution to the economy growing at 3.5 % per annum. This would mean tourism showing faster growth than more recognised industries such as manufacturing, utilities, retailing and transport and communications.

Tourism is currently benefiting from the weak pound making Britain good value to overseas visitors while more UK residents have holidayed at home – the staycation effect. However, long term growth will depend on continued investment in the sector and its promotion, enhanced Government policies and renewed regulatory support.

The new independent analysis conducted by Deloitte and Oxford Economics confirms that tourism is worth £115 billion keeping 2.6 million people in work, making it Britain’s fifth biggest industry. Tourism employs people at all skills levels all across the UK and is predominantly an industry of small businesses. SMEs account for around 200,000 or so companies involved in the visitor economy.

In 2010 we should see an additional 10,000 jobs supported by the visitor economy, which will mean that 8.7% or one in every 12 jobs in the UK is supported by tourism. By 2020 the visitor economy is forecast by Deloitte to account for 2.9 million jobs, 250,000 more than is the case today.

Over the next decade the forecast for the UK tourism industry is very positive. Inbound visitor spend is currently worth £16 billion – making tourism the UK’s third foreign exchange earner. Spending by foreign visitors is forecast to almost double to £31 billion in 2020, growing 4.4% a year. Domestic spending by UK residents is forecast to show slower growth (2.6% a year)  but from a higher base level, rising from £72 billion in 2010 to £113 billion in 2020, driven by strong growth in spending on day visits.

Christopher Rodrigues, Chairman of VisitBritain commented “This research reaffirms the importance of tourism to the British economy. Tourism is a powerful economic driver, and investing in tourism delivers immediate economic benefits – overseas visitors pay around £3 billion a year to the Treasury alone.”

Christopher Rodrigues continued “Tourism is one of the few industries that supports jobs across the country in our cities, sea-side towns and rural areas, cannot be outsourced and has the potential to grow and support 250,000 more jobs with continued investment. Tourism is an industry in which Britain punches above its weight and is truly globally competitive – we are currently 6th in the world – but its benefits in income both to the Treasury and to local communities and in shaping Britain’s image abroad as a place to do business are often taken for granted. We now have the catalyst of being host to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to revitalise the welcome we offer the world, and I hope this research will underline what an historic opportunity we all have to work for.”

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