Driving Growth – The Economic Value of Outbound Travel

Driving Growth SummaryHistorically, research on the economic value of travel and tourism to the UK economy has tended to focus on the inbound and domestic sectors, that is, tourists visiting the UK, or those holidaying at home. This report shines the spotlight on the UK’s outbound sector and dispels some of the myths that foreign travel by UK citizens negatively impacts the UK economy.

The findings are significant, showing that the outbound sector directly accounts for 1.6% of UK GDP, with a total economic impact of 3.8% of GDP. It creates 50 per cent more jobs than the real estate sector and more than two times as many jobs as in the energy and utility sectors combined, bringing in over £6 billion in taxes to HM Treasury. While much of this value is generated by tour operators, transport providers and travel agents, crucially the report underlines the direct contribution of the outbound sector to industries such as retail and financial services and the indirect contribution to others, such as construction.

It also highlights that outbound travel is an important part of the ‘Tourism Mix’ that deserves an equal place at the policy table alongside domestic and inbound tourism.

These are impressive statistics that deserve some clear and sober reflection. The industry faces some significant challenges and hurdles ahead – however the positive impact of government backing for outbound travel can release the growth desperately needed to support the UK economy going forward.

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