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Minister reveals sharp drop in UK tourism revenue

A downturn in tourism was responsible for half the contraction in the UK economy in the three months to September, with the country seeing a substantial fall in visitors from two of its major markets.

UK tourism minister Barbara Follett revealed the unprecedented fall in tourism’s contribution to GDP at World Travel Market on Tuesday, following a 0.5% shrinkage of the economy in the third quarter of the year.

Follett said: “Half the contraction came from the hospitality and tourism sector.”

She revealed a 15% fall year on year in visitors from North America in the the three months to August, and a 25% fall in visitors from Japan in the first eight months of the year.

The minister apologised to WTM visitors “on behalf of the government” for the transport delays on Monday and Tuesday, adding: “We have an incredible opportunity with the Olympics in 2012, but we have lot of work to do improve our welcome.”

* More WTM 2008 coverage at travelweekly.co.uk/wtm2008

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