The number of jobs created by UK tourism grew more than twice as much as other sectors of the economy in the five years to 2014, latest figures show.

Employment in tourism industries rose by almost 12% from 2.66 million to 2.97million from 2009 to 2014, compared to non-tourism sectors which grew by 5%. 

The highest rate of growth was in accommodation, and food & beverage serving activities, which both increased by 15% – together the equivalent of more than 220,000 jobs.

The figures from VisitBritain also show that:

  • Only 5% of tourism workers are casual employees; 90% of tourism workers are permanent; 5% of tourism workers are in other forms of temporary employment.
  • Almost 50% of workers in culture, sports, recreation or conference activities work either a Saturday, Sunday or both.
  • The profile of tourism workers is generally younger, with 26% of tourism workers aged 16 to 24, compared with 11% in non-tourism industries.
  • The top 10 places for employment in tourism as a percentage of all jobs are: 
Lochaber, Skye & Lochalsh, Arran & Cumbrae and Argyll & Bute; 
Orkney Islands; 
Brighton and Hove; 
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly; 
Isle of Anglesey;
Perth & Kinross and Stirling.

The number of overseas visitors to the UK is expected to rise this year with 36.7million visits, up 3.8% on 2015. 

Spending by overseas visitors is predicted to reach almost £23 billion in 2016, a 4.2% increase over last year despite the strength of sterling.

VisitBritain is targeting a 20% in international visits over the next five years to 42 million by 2020, which could see an additional £4.5 billion in visitor spend.

Tourism minister, David Evennett (pictured), said: “Our tourism industry makes a huge contribution to the UK economy and this impressive jobs growth is great news for the sector and the country on the whole.

“Attracting and keeping the best talent is key to the prime minister’s vision for tourism, which is why one of our priorities is to increase the number of apprenticeships in the industry and to champion careers in tourism.”

VisitBritain director, Patricia Yates, added: “Tourism is a rapidly growing industry and we’re working hard to encourage visitors to explore all of Britain’s nations and regions to ensure that the economic growth from tourism and the jobs that the industry is continuing to deliver are spread right across Britain.”