New report quashes myth that sector doesn’t contribute to UK economy, says Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer

Abta has launched its latest report on the contribution the outbound travel industry makes to the UK economy – and the findings are striking:

• The overall contribution of outbound travel has grown by 36% since 2014, and now stands at £37.1bn, up from £27.1bn.
• Travellers now spend more in the UK before they travel than they do when abroad – £45.7bn compared to £44.8bn overseas.
• The industry directly employs 221,000 jobs and supports a further 526,000 jobs in the wider economy – such as retail and manufacturing.

As an industry we should take pride in this growth and the contribution we make, even more so when you think about the significant challenges to global tourism in recent years. A weak pound, Brexit, the threat of terrorism and ongoing political and economic uncertainty here and abroad have all put pressure on outbound travel, yet our industry has achieved significant growth amidst these challenging circumstances.

The report ‘Driving Growth – The economic value of outbound travel’ shows that the industry is on a firm footing when it comes to driving jobs and economic growth, and that we’re resilient in the face of uncertainty.

It also puts paid to some long-standing myths about the value of outbound travel. How many times have we heard people say that outbound tourism doesn’t contribute to the UK economy? This report demonstrates that this is simply not true.

As the figures show, more money is coming to the UK on the back of people booking holidays or making business trips abroad, than is going to overseas countries. So it is clear – the outbound travel industry is big business for the UK. There are more jobs in outbound travel than the UK’s iron and steel or electrical equipment manufacturing industries, not to mention the fishing industry.

It is time this contribution was recognised. Abta will be taking this argument to parliamentarians and officials over the coming months to help them understand the real value of the outbound travel industry. We’ll also point out that with the right policy and tax frameworks, travel and tourism can be a catalyst for further growth and job creation right across the UK.

The full report is available to read at