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UK Travel & Tourism to create 700,000 jobs over next decade, says WTTC

The sector’s contribution to GDP is expected to grow nearly two thirds (62.7%) to nearly £214bn by the end of 2022

The Travel and Tourism sector in the UK is expected to create an average of 700,000 new jobs over the next decade, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) latest Economic Impact Report (EIR).

The report revealed the UK’s Travel and Tourism’s contribution to GDP is forecasted to grow at an average rate of 3% annually between 2022-2032. This is nearly twice the 1.7% growth rate of the overall economy, and it is set to reach more than £286bn, representing 10.1% of the total economy.

Additionally, by the end of 2022, the sector’s contribution to GDP is expected to grow nearly two thirds (62.7%) to nearly £214bn, amounting to 8.9% of the total economic GDP. 

However, the WTTC said that over this period, employment in the sector is set to grow by only 0.5%, to reach just over four million jobs.

Overall, UK recovery in the sector has reportedly been slower due to the lack of inbound international travel spend. Last year, the sector lagged pre-pandemic job levels by 170,000.

When Travel and Tourism was at its “peak” in 2019, international visitor spending in the UK reached £36.4bn. However last year, the total spend dropped to £3.9bn.

Before the pandemic, the sector’s contribution to GDP was 9.9% (£234.5bn) in 2019, falling to 4.3% (£93.8bn) in 2020, representing a 60% loss above the global impact of 50%.

Julia Simpson, WTTC president and CEO, said: “Over the long term the future looks bright for the revival of the UK Travel and Tourism sector, but in the short term, international visitor spend is so low it is hampering the country’s economic recovery.

“After two years of economic damage to the sector, the UK government continues to take this sector for granted. There has been no focus or understanding of how critical Travel and Tourism is to the UK economy.”

She added: “Smart countries are investing overseas to get visitors back. Travel and Tourism can contribute 10% to the economy and yet it is not even discussed at senior levels. The UK will lose out to other European destinations if this isn’t addressed urgently.”

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