ABTA publicises report, to be submitted to Airports Commission, on value of leisure aviation to UK economy

ABTA has publicised the key findings of a new report it has commissioned from CEBR on the value of leisure aviation to the UK economy. This report is not yet publicly available, but will be presented to the Airports Commission at its evidence session on Tuesday 9th July in Manchester.  ABTA’s report says that  – (predictably) – the travel industry – which largely takes Brits to holiday abroad, or visit relatives abroad,  makes a huge contribution to the UK economy. It says this makes up 1.1% of UK GDP and is a direct value to the UK economy of £14.1 billion per year.  It says “when taking account of the economic impact of leisure aviation in the wider economy, this value rises to £36.1 billion, or 2.8% of GDP.”  They also claim that leisure aviation supports about 1.2% of total UK employment and equates to 289,000 full-time jobs across the whole of the UK. Much the same analysis could actually be done for many other sectors of the economy. [In reality, the DfT confirmed in 2012 that the aviation industry supports about 120,000 jobs in the UK and supports many more indirectly.] ABTA and the CEBR produced a report in May 2012 claiming that UK outbound holiday makers spend about £31.2 billion per year in the UK before their trip, including the cost of travel].



Value of tourism highlighted at Travel Matters

Transport Secretary addresses annual policy event as new research shows value of leisure aviation to UK economy

ABTA – The Travel Association today unveiled the headline findings of a new report on the value of leisure aviation to the UK economy at its annual Travel Matters conference in Westminster.

Prepared by CEBR (the Centre for Economics and Business Research) on behalf of ABTA, the report looks at the contribution of leisure aviation to the economy.

Leisure aviation covers holidaymakers, those visiting friends and relatives (VFR) and other non-business related air passengers.* The research builds on a report, published by ABTA in 2012, that demonstrates the value of the UK’s tourism mix – inbound, outbound and domestic.

The report highlights leisure aviation’s significant economic impact, accounting for 1.1 per cent of UK GDP. This equates to a direct value of £14.1 billion annually. When taking account of the economic impact of leisure aviation in the wider economy, this value rises to £36.1 billion, or 2.8 per cent of GDP. This is larger than either the accounting or advertising industries. The report also highlights leisure aviation’s impact on jobs, supporting an estimated 1.2 per cent of total UK employment and equating to 289,000 full-time jobs across the whole of the UK. This represents more than the total number of jobs supported by the utilities industry.

The findings come as 200 senior industry figures and political stakeholders gathered in Westminster for ABTA’s Travel Matters event. Topics discussed ranged from the competitiveness of the UK’s travel and tourism sector and the opportunities, challenges and barriers to inspiring business and consumer confidence. Speakers at the event included the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport, ABTA’s Chief Executive, Mark Tanzer, Craig Kreeger, Virgin Atlantic’s new Chief Executive Officer and Ben Reid OBE, Chief Executive of The Midcounties Co-operative.

Mark Tanzer, CEO, ABTA said: “With decisive action needed on aviation capacity, it’s vital that the Government takes into account all aviation needs. Leisure aviation is often seen as a lesser priority to business aviation, partly because until now there has been little research into this area; however these figures confirm the important contribution made by leisure aviation. Whatever plans the Government decide on for the future of aviation, it is vital that these plans take into account the UK’s unique aviation mix, whether it comprises cargo, business or leisure travel.”

The full Cebr report will be presented to the Airports Commission on 9 July when Mark Tanzer, CEO ABTA gives evidence to the Commission in Manchester.


ABTA currently has around 1,200 Members and represents over 5,000 retail outlets and offices.





The report from May 2012


ABTA also commissioned a study by CEBR in May 2012 to claim that British holiday makers taking their money abroad on foreign holidays were, in fact, of huge benefit to the UK economy.

This, of course, ignores the fact that these holiday makers – had they taken a trip in the UK – would probably have spent much of this money (other than their travel tickets) on similar items for their time in the UK (clothes, books, accessories, toiletries etc). 

It also ignores the fact that a huge number of British holiday makers take flights with Ryanair, or other non-UK airlines, and these fares are not included in the benefit to the UK economy.


Holidaymakers spend £532 each before leaving Britain

New research has shown that holidaymakers spend an estimated £31.2bn each year on British products and services before they leave the country.

By   (Telegraph)

10 May 2012

That includes nearly £1.8 billion spent on duty free products, as well as payments to travel companies and spending on clothes, accessories, cameras and toiletries, and is equivalent to £532 per person.

The study, carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, was commissioned by Abta, the travel association, to highlight the economic benefits of outbound tourism.

…and it continues (on a whinge about APD).




Brits spend as much before they travel as they do abroad

New research by ABTA at its annual Travel Matters event last month has revealed that many Brits are spending as much here in the UK before they travel, as they do abroad on holiday.

The report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research has found that UK holidaymakers spend an average of £532 per person on holiday products and services before they have even left the country. In total this is equivalent to £31.2 billion that is spent in the UK each year on foreign holiday planning, where as £31.6 billion is spent whilst abroad.

The figure includes transport to and from the airport, buying electrical goods such as cameras and magazines and books to keep us entertained on the journey. The largest amount is spent on our holiday wardrobes, which adds up to £1.83 billion, closely followed by buying duty free goods at £1.77 billion. We also spend £529 million on toiletries and other beauty essentials when we go away, including sun tan lotions.

Victoria Bacon, ABTA Head of Communications said, “Part of the excitement of going away on holiday is about the preparation. For many holidaymakers, splashing out some of their budget on a new summer wardrobe, buying a few new books and magazines and getting their duty free at the airport are all part of the experience. This demonstrates conclusively that going abroad on holiday is good for British business”.






“The Aviation Foundation” of aviation industry lobbyists launches UK-wide pro-flights campaign asserting massive benefits to UK from flying

21.11.2012An aviation group, (BA, Virgin and MAG) called the Aviation Foundation has set up and launched a campaign to highlight to MPs the alleged economic benefits of the UK aviation business. Its “Great British Flying Test ” aims to “promote the importance of aviation to local economies” – which is barely surprising, seeing which companies are its backers.  The study – as usual – ignores inconvenient facts, such as the tourism deficit (the net outflow of money, and indirectly jobs) from the UK due to the spending by Brits on holidays abroad. It also includes the number of jobs in aerospace, along with jobs in air travel, and it  makes out that aviation has a uniquely important role in supporting other jobs.  Any other sector could, likewise, inflate the alleged amount of economic impact it has. The Aviation Foundation produces statements such as that the aviation industry “directly employs 220,000 people” [this figure is utterly wrong – see below  it is actually around 120,000 ] and aviation supports workers in Bed & Breakfasts across the UK etc etc.https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=1866


The 220,000 jobs claim:

The ONS data (based on the 2009 Annual Business Survey) shows 120,000 jobs in UK aviation, down from 200,000 jobs 10 years ago.  Rather than accept this, DfT has tried to muddy the waters by adding aerospace to the aviation sector.  The UK aerospace industry (manufacturing, including avionics and aero engines) employed 100,000 people in the UK in 2009 but many of these jobs were in the military rather than the civilian sector (ONS doesn’t provide that breakdown).  In any event, it’s disingenuous for DfT to include these manufacturing jobs in the UK aviation sector.  DfT hasn’t done this in the past and it seems to have changed its definition of UK aviation simply to hide the fact that there has been a 40% reduction in the number of jobs in the sector over the past 10 years. (You can check the numbers by looking at paragraphs 2.2 and 2.5 of the Draft Aviation Policy Framework (http://assets.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-2012-35/draft-aviation-policy-framework.pdf ) and following the footnote references provided therein.


The DfT states, in the Aviation Policy Framework, December 2012 http://assets.dft.gov.uk/consultations/dft-2012-35/draft-aviation-policy-framework.pdf:


The air transport sector’s turnover is around £26 billion, and the sector
directly generates around £9 billion of economic output. It provides
about 120,000 jobs in the UK and supports many more indirectly.
These figures do not include the aerospace sector, which is covered


The UK aerospace industry is another important part of our advanced
manufacturing sector, contributing towards rebalancing the economy to
become less dependent on financial services. The UK has the second
biggest aerospace industry in the world in terms of turnover, and is one
of only a few countries involved in the design, development,
manufacture and maintenance of the full range of aircraft products. The
sector has an annual turnover of around £23 billion of which 70 per
cent is exported. It directly employs around 100,000 highly skilled
workers and supports many more jobs indirectly.


UK residents made 56 million visits abroad in 2010 and spent £32
billion, 83 per cent of which was spent by residents who travelled
abroad by air.

Some respondents considered that there was a “tourism deficit”, as more UK residents travelled  abroad than overseas residents travelled to the UK. Other respondents  highlighted that outbound tourism supports UK-based jobs in the travel and airline industry and boosts high street consumer demand before  trips are made. The latter has been valued at around £27 billion per year.19 Responses confirmed that the “tourism deficit” question is a complex one and that the evidence available to us does not show that a decrease in the number of UK residents flying abroad for their holidays would benefit overall the UK economy.