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Travel agents within sector ‘outpacing rest of UK economy’

Travel agents have been named as among businesses that outpaced the rest of the UK economy for the first time in more than nine years in September.

Tourism and recreation (62.2) – which includes pubs, hotels, restaurants, leisure facilities and travel agents – was the fastest growing UK sector monitored by the Lloyds Bank UK Recovery Tracker for the first time since January 2012.

The sector registered a reading of 62.2 on the Tracker. A reading above 50 signals output is rising, while a reading below 50 indicates contraction.

The sector benefited from strong consumer demand for large-scale events, such as concerts and music festivals, and the easing and simplification of international travel rules in England which led to a rise in people booking holidays abroad and more tourists visiting the UK.

Transport operators were also helped by a loosening of travel restrictions and more people commuting, causing the sector’s output to rebound sharply month-on-month.

Tourism and recreation also became the only services sector to record the strongest monthly output growth since before the pandemic.

Ten of the 14 UK sectors monitored by the Tracker saw output rise during September, up from nine in August.

Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking head of economics and market insight Jeavon Lolay said: “While the number of sectors in growth mode increased last month, we are now firmly in an economic phase of recovery where big leaps in activity won’t happen every month. Tourism and recreation outpaced other sectors in September because it continues to benefit from relaxations in Covid-19 restrictions and resurgent consumer demand.

“As the UK economy continues to inch towards its pre-pandemic peak, logistical challenges, higher energy prices and uncertainty relating to the path of the virus as we head into winter are key risks.

“Policymakers will need to tread carefully in order to safeguard the recovery, with important fiscal and monetary policy decisions due in the coming weeks and months.”

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