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ABTA launches ‘Driving Growth’ report at annual Travel Matters conference

A report published today by ABTA has revealed the substantial economic contribution of outbound travel. The study, carried out by the Centre for Economics Business Research (Cebr) for ABTA shows that outbound travel’s economic contribution in the UK totals £28.3 billion, representing 1.8% of the UK’s GDP*. This includes a direct contribution of £11.7 billion, which is equivalent to 0.8% of UK GDP.

Outbound travel also supports 214,000 jobs directly and 435,000 in the wider economy. This represents a greater UK employment contribution than the country’s postal and courier industries, and those involved in the manufacture of food products and electrical equipment.

The report ‘Driving Growth’, which will be launched at ABTA’s annual Travel Matters conference, seeks to underline the value of outbound tourism and to challenge the so-called ‘tourism deficit’, that is the difference in spend by UK residents abroad, and foreign residents’ spend in the UK. Indeed, the report shows that holidaymakers spend in excess of £34 billion in the UK before they go abroad highlighting the important economic contribution outbound tourism makes to the UK economy.

‘Driving Growth’ also demonstrates the enormous potential that outbound travel possesses, with the sector in prime position to capitalise on economic recovery and the growth in household disposable income that the Cebr projects in the next five years.

Travel Matters, now in its sixth year, is taking place today in St James, London. The event brings together 200 senior level representatives from ABTA’s membership, industry stakeholders, and representatives of Government departments and bodies. Among others, Aviation Minister, Robert Goodwill, The Monarch Group CEO Andrew Swaffield, and ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer will address attendees.

Tanzer will present the report’s findings, highlighting outbound travel’s integral part of the UK’s tourism mix of inbound, outbound and domestic travel businesses.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “Outbound travel is a key part of the UK’s vibrant tourism mix and has enormous potential for growth. With a new Government in place, and the Budget just around the corner, important decisions are about to be made. The message from Travel Matters will be clear: MPs and Government must ensure that we have in place the right policy and tax framework to allow the UK’s tourism mix to reach its full potential in the years ahead.”

The report is available online at www.abta.com/drivinggrowth.

About ABTA

ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for over 65 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence.

The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members.

We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.

ABTA currently has around 1,200 Members, with a combined annual UK turnover of £33.07 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member or Partner means, and how we help the British public travel with confidence visit www.abta.com. 

*This study, carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) for ABTA – The Travel Association, investigates the full extent, size and importance of the UK outbound travel sector. This study was carried out in spring 2015.

The Cebr provides independent economic forecasts and analysis to private, public and third sector organisations. Founded in 1993, Cebr has helped hundreds of clients plan for the future, and better understand their markets. For this study, the Cebr has isolated those parts of the relevant broad sectors of the economy that are either: (i) geared to the provision of the goods and services that form part of the outbound travel offering; or (ii) exist as a direct result of outbound travel or, rather, that might not exist if it were not for UK outbound travel.

The starting point for this was to establish a ‘definition’ of outbound travel to form the basis of this analysis. In formulating such a definition, Cebr used the structure of the economy as a guide that provides the basis for the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) system of national accounts.