The latest Economic Impact Report (EIR) from the World Travel & Tourism Council reveals that the UK travel and tourism sector is expected to create nearly 700,000 new jobs over the next decade.
World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasts indicate that an average of 70,000 new jobs will be created each year over the next 10 years.
According to the report, the contribution of UK travel and tourism to GDP is expected to grow at an average rate of 3% per year between 2022 and 2032.
This is almost double the 1.7% growth rate of the overall economy and is expected to grow to over £286bn (10.1% of the total economy).
By the end of 2022, the sector’s contribution to GDP is expected to increase by nearly two-thirds (62.7%) to almost £214 billion, or 8.9% of total economic GDP.
However, over this period, employment in the sector should only grow by 0.5% to reach just over four million jobs.
Julia Simpson, President and CEO of WTTC, said: “Long term, the future looks bright for the revival of the UK travel and tourism sector, but in the short term, spending by international visitors is so low that they are hampering the country’s economic recovery.
“After two years of economic damage to the sector, the UK government continues to take this sector for granted. There has been no focus or understanding of the importance of travel and tourism to the UK economy.
“Smart countries invest abroad to bring visitors back. Travel and tourism can contribute up to 10% to the economy and yet it is not even discussed at higher levels. The UK will lose out to other European destinations if this issue is not addressed urgently.
In 2019, when travel and tourism was at its peak, spending by international visitors to the UK reached £36.4 billion. However, last year, as the UK continued to struggle to attract visitors to its shores, total spending was just £3.9billion.
Before the pandemic, the UK travel and tourism sector’s contribution to GDP was 9.9% (£234.5bn) in 2019, falling to just 4.3% (£93.8bn) in 2020, which was a staggering 60% loss compared to the global impact of 50%.
The latest EIR report also reveals that 2021 has seen the slow start to the recovery of the UK travel and tourism sector.
Last year, its contribution to GDP soared 40.3% year-on-year to over £131bn, still significantly below 2019 levels.
The sector’s modest recovery was not matched by the creation of less than 16,000 new travel and tourism jobs, to 4.11 million, still some 170,000 fewer jobs than before the pandemic.
The sector’s contribution to the economy could have been higher had it not been for the impact of the Omicron variant, which has rocked the recovery around the world, with many countries reinstating travel restrictions.