ABTA claims Brits spend on average £523 each before their foreign holidays ?
The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has produced some research that makes out that encouraging millions of Brits to take their holidays abroad is of major net benefit to the UK economy (rather than a drain on it), because of all the stuff they buy before their hols. The study – conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) – unveils that British holidaymakers spend an average £532 each on services and products for their trip before they even leave the country. Total, £31.2 billion is spent every year in the country on foreign planning and preparing a holiday, which is about the same as holidaymakers spend while they are away – £31.6 billion. This includes the cost of transport to and from the airport and the flights to leave the UK (not much help if it is on Ryanair or a foreign airline). The outbound sector makes a great contribution to UK employment as well, with 624,920 directly employed by the sector and another 1.26 million working in the wider economy. This of course ignores the downside: the money taken out of the country, the loss of tourism jobs in the UK from fewer trips within the UK, the loss of all the economic benefit that would create …….. etc etc.
The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has revealed new research this week at its annual Travel Matters event, showing that outbound travel is a major contributor to the UK economy. The study – conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) – unveils that British holidaymakers spend an average £532 each on services and products for their trip before they even leave the country. Total, £31.2 billion is spent every year in the country on foreign planning and preparing a holiday, which is about the same as holidaymakers spend while they are away – £31.6 billion.
The total calculation for holiday spending before even leaving the country includes the cost of transport to and from the airport and the flights to leave the UK. The outbound sector makes a great contribution to UK employment as well, with 624,920 directly employed by the sector and another 1.26 million working in the wider economy.
The report also shows the huge boost UK retailers get every year from people getting ready for their trip abroad. Preparing a holiday wardrobe is one of the biggest overall spends for people, with £1.83 billion spent on clothes and shoes. This is followed by duty free goods at £1.77 billion, cameras and other electronics at £759 million, and magazines and books to stay entertained on the beach at £543 million. Suntan lotion, pharmaceuticals and toiletries account for about £529 million of holiday spending before leaving, while sunglasses and other accessories take £301 million.
ABTA head of communications Victoria Bacon says part of the excitement about going abroad for a holiday is preparing for it. Spending some of the getaway budget on new summer clothes, books and magazines, and duty free products at the airport is part of the experience for many holidaymakers. When this is added to all the jobs supported in shops, airports and travel agents, it’s clear that the outbound travel sector is a very important contributor to Britain’s economy. This conclusively shows that going overseas for holidays is good for British business.
ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer says, it’s been assumed for too long that money is being taken from the UK economy when holidaymakers travel abroad. This report conclusively proves that the foreign holiday market greatly contributes to British business and is an important part of a dynamic and healthy economy. The government needs to acknowledge and support outbound travel in existing and future policies and planning strategies to provide growth to the wider economy.
The association has called on the government to scrap, reduce or freeze Air Passenger Duty (APD), and along with several major travel firms, is a member of the Fair Tax on Flying alliance. It claims that, in addition to pricing British holidaymakers out of travelling abroad, APD puts off foreign visitors to the country since they have to pay the duty on their flight home. It’s also argued that APD should be reduced to offset the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which was just introduced at the start of the year and increases the cost of flying even more.
Outbound travellers boost UK plc by £22bn
10 May 2012
The outbound sector also accounts for 620,000 people in full-time employment, which is more than the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors combined, and is 2.6% of the UK workforce.
The total tax take from the outbound sector is £6bn per year, with £1.2bn raised from indirect taxes such as Air Passenger Duty (APD).
Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive, said: ‘For too long it has been assumed that by going abroad on holiday, money is being taken out of the UK economy.
‘This report proves conclusively that the foreign holiday market makes a huge contribution to the UK economy and is an essential component of a healthy and dynamic UK economy.
‘Outbound travel employs hundreds of thousands of people and directly contributes over £22bn to the economy, supporting a range of sectors. With this in mind the Government must recognise and support outbound travel in its current and future policies and planning strategies to deliver growth to the wider economy.’
The full report can be downloaded at www.abta.com/DrivingGrowth.
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ABTA strongly supports the UK’s Tourism Mix. A healthy and thriving tourism industry inclusive of the inbound, domestic, and outbound sectors can underpin a successful, growing, and dynamic UK economy.
Historically, research on the economic value of travel and tourism to the UK economy has tended to focus on the inbound and domestic sectors, that is, tourists visiting the UK, or those holidaying at home. This report shines the spotlight on the UK’s outbound sector and dispels some of the myths that foreign travel by UK citizens negatively impacts the UK economy.
The findings are significant, showing that the outbound sector directly accounts for 1.6% of UK GDP, with a total economic impact of 3.8% of GDP. It creates 50 per cent more jobs than the real estate sector and more than two times as many jobs as in the energy and utility sectors combined, bringing in over £6 billion in taxes to HM Treasury. While much of this value is generated by tour operators, transport providers and travel agents, crucially the report underlines the direct contribution of the outbound sector to industries such as retail and financial services and the indirect contribution to others, such as construction.
These are impressive statistics that deserve some clear and sober reflection. The industry faces some significant challenges and hurdles ahead – however the positive impact of government backing for outbound travel can release the growth desperately needed to support the UK economy going forward.