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Study: UK tourism sector suffering from Brexit debacle

Christian Fleetwood

Britain’s Travel and Tourism sector is significantly behind the international average for growth, according to research released by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

Last year the sector only grew by one per cent – contributing 4.2 million jobs in the United Kingdom – below the European Union’s (EU) overall average of 2.7 per cent, and the global average of nearly four per cent.

Despite the results, the UK still remains the fifth largest Travel and Tourism sector in the world, trailing behind the United States, China, Japan and Germany. The UK is also the smallest nation on the list in terms of its population.

Growth for 2019 is forecast to be just over one per cent, which would again put it below the predicted global and European Union averages.

Uncertainties over Brexit and a near 10 per cent decline in spending by international visitors led to the weak level of growth in the UK
Uncertainties over Brexit and a near 10 per cent decline in spending by international visitors led to the weak level of growth in the UK

Despite the poor forecast growth for the sector, WTTC believes Travel and Tourism could drive the UK forward post-Brexit.

“Post-Brexit, Travel and Tourism stands to be one of the major sectors to drive a recovery in the British economy,” said Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of WTTC.

“Its current growth rate of one per cent is dramatically below the 6.2 per cent recorded the previous year and demonstrates the huge potential of our sector to be a driver of economic growth.

“Our sector is not being helped by uncertainty over the form of Brexit. Last month, we published research to show that over 300,00 jobs could be at risk our sector in the United Kingdom and almost 400,000 in Europe if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March.”

Guevara also said the British Government would need to facilitate the growth of the industry in collaboration with the private sector to promote the UK to overseas markets.

 Spending by international visitors to the UK dropped nearly 10 per cent from $58.1 billion in 2017 to $52.3 billion in 2018.

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