General Article Why tourism matters

Topic Selected: Travel and Tourism
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It’s big…

The size and importance of tourism in the UK’s overall economy is often underestimated. It’s our third highest export earner behind Chemicals and Financial Services. In most years it’s the fifth or sixth biggest sector of our economy, behind manufacturing and retail but ahead of construction. It generates £90 billion of direct business for the economy each year, contributes £115 billion to GDP when you include the supply chain and £52 billion directly and is one of our biggest employers, with over 200,000 businesses providing 1.36 million jobs or 4.4% of all employment.

  • Domestic tourism accounts for 59% of the sector’s spend, while inbound travellers account for 14% and outbound 27%.
  • Britain consistently ranks as one of the top six or seven visitor destinations in the world, and because of our open and international economy, business travel is an important (and high spending) element of both our domestic and foreign travel sectors too.
  • We’re comparatively weak in the...

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