Travel and tourism is the fastest growing sector in the UK, accounting for 11.9% of all jobs, ahead of financial services (8.9%) and banking (3.4%).
New research by World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) found the sector contributed £231.6 billion to the nation’s GDP.
Announcing the research on the 50th anniversary of an Act of parliament that led to the establishment of the British Tourist Authority and tourist boards for England, Scotland and Wales, WTTC said the UK now attracts almost 40 million visitors a year.
It is the world’s seventh most popular tourist destination and the fourth in Europe and is the fifth largest sector in terms of GDP production.
The ‘Benchmarking’ study from WTTC, sponsored by American Express, reveals that in the UK, of the sectors studied, travel and tourism is the fifth largest in terms of GDP contribution (11%), ahead of banking (6.1%) and automotive manufacturing (3.2%).
¨Travel & Tourism was the second fastest growing sector (3.9%) during 2010-18, behind automotive manufacturing (5.6), where stronger growth came from a much lower base. This contrasts with the banking sector, which showed the poorest performance, shrinking 1.1%.
Globally, travel and tourism is the fifth largest contributor to GDP amongst nine sectors analysed; its contribution is 1.4 times higher than agriculture, 1.5 times higher than banking, 6.8% higher than automotive manufacturing, and 1.7 times higher than mining.
Meanwhile, one in 10 of all employees worldwide are working in travel and tourism, ahead of financial services which employs 9.1% of the workforce and health, which employs 7.4%.
One in five jobs in the last five years were in travel and tourism.
WTTC president and CEO Gloria Guevara said: “As we know and is now reaffirmed by this Benchmarking Research, the travel & tourism sector underpins much of UK spending and supports jobs.
“WTTC commends the UK government for recognising the clear importance of the industry as a driver of economic growth and for their strategy in spreading the benefits of the industry across the country.”