British tourism is still booming despite Brexit being on the horizon
While the weaker pound may be causing a bit of a headache for Brits wanting to travel abroad, overseas visitors are being enticed by better exchange rates.
What’s more, Britain is growing into a ‘staycation nation’ with 93 per cent deciding to holiday at home at least once this year, research from Wonga shows.
As a result, the tourism and travel is booming, with the industry’s overall contribution to Britain’s gross domestic product growing by 6.2 per cent in 2017, according to data from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
This is higher than the global average of 4.6 per cent and a whopping four times faster than the UK’s economy as a whole.
It is predicted that some 1.7 million British jobs are generated by the tourism industry, which accounts for roughly five per cent of total employment.
Tourism jobs include employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services.
This is only set to grow. By 2028, travel and tourism will account for 1.9 million jobs directly.
With the industry growing at rapid pace, this puts doubts over Brexit doomsayers’ claims that the decision to leave the EU will detrimentally affect this sector .
Travelodge boss, Peter Gowers, 44, has recently alleged there will be a shortage of one million workers by 2029.
Ryanair chief executive, Michael O’Leary, has also claimed that flights will be halted between the UK and EU following Brexit, causing mass disruption to passengers.
Britain has scheduled its date to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.
However, while the industry is growing strongly, WTTC President and CEO, Gloria Guevara, had a word of warning, saying the industry must be safeguarded.
Speaking at the launch of the report in New York, she said: “The strong growth in UK tourism is great news not just for the sector but for the country’s economy as a whole.
The travel and tourism industry is still booming in the UK
“However this success cannot be taken for granted. While the weak pound is certainly improving competitiveness in the short-term, and driving visitor arrivals and spending, there are significant challenges in the longer-term which will need to be addressed.”
Echoing the sentiments of the Prime Minister, Theresa May, Guevara believes that Britain must stay in the single European aviation market in order to benefit from continued growth.
She continued: “The continued inclusion of the UK in aviation agreements will be vital of the UK is to continue to enjoy access to high spending EU markets and maintain affordable European travel for residents”.
Recognising the benefits that tourism brings to Britain, the WTTC called on the Government to priorities the needs of the sector.
“The prize is nearly £40billion in exports per year and around 400,000 new jobs – vital for the economic success of Britain outside the EU.”