Tourism has potential to boost UK plc by billions

A workforce skills campaign is one of the key areas for the tourism industry’s bid to be at the top of the government’s agenda.

The industry is lobbying for a sector deal under the government’s Industrial Strategy, and a Tourism Industry Council meeting on Wednesday approved the list of priorities.

As well as a workforce skills campaign aimed at boosting recruitment, the priorities include:

  • boosting productivity by extending the tourism season year-round;
  • increasing global market share in the business visits and events sector;
  • making it easier to explore the UK;
  • and creating ‘tourism zones’ to build quality tourism products that meet visitors’ needs.

Steve Ridgway (pictured), British Tourist Authority chairman, said: “Tourism is worth £127 billion annually to the UK economy; is one of our most valuable export industries and a job creator right across Britain, and is already showing strong growth.

“We believe there is the potential to more than double the value of this industry to £268 billion within a decade, increase employment to 3.8 million and boost productivity.”

Britain has seen a record 23.1 million inbound visits from January to July this year, but is being outspent by competitors and losing global market share.

The tourism sector deal bid, which is overseen by  the BTA, is now due to be submitted to government ministers in the coming weeks.

It was drawn up after extensive consultation with the industry.

Certain sectors have already been given an early sector deal. These include the automotive industry, life sciences, industry 4:0, creative industries and nuclear.

Work is under way with these sectors to develop their key areas of policy and the government support they need.