Five and a half million foreign visitors arrived in the UK via Gatwick in 2017 – contributing £4.7 billion to GDP and supporting 93,000 jobs.
The figures come from an Oxford Economics report on the airport’s impact on the visitor economy.
In addition, £1.2 billion was added to the UK Exchequer, through taxes on transactions, wages and profits generated by businesses serving these overseas visitors.
Commissioned by the Gatwick Growth Board,the report also shows that the UK economy receives a boost of £200 million and 4,000 jobs every time 100,000 more passengers from Asia arrive at Gatwick – highlighting the importance of the airport’s recent new routes to Hong Kong, Chongqing, Tianjin and Taipei, with other new routes to Asia expected soon.
Passengers visiting from Asia are shown to spend an average £1,185 per visit – compared to the £705 overall average – with those arriving from US (£1,021), Australia (£1,047) and the ‘Rest of Americas’ (£1,117) also spending considerably more.
Just over half (56%) of foreign visitors’ overnight stays were in London, and a quarter (24%) were across the south east region.
Furthermore, 1.6 million visitors arrived from other parts of UK last year and contributed £588 million to GDP and 12,700 jobs.
These visitors were principally from Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Baroness Tessa Jowell, Gatwick Growth Board co-chair, said: “This report shows just how valuable long-haul visitors arriving through Gatwick are to the UK. The airport already offers over 60 long-haul routes but securing more to North and South America, and to Asia, will bring even more high-value visitors into the UK economy.”
Steve Ridgway, chair of VisitBritain, added: “Gatwick is an important gateway to the UK and plays a vital role in the country’s thriving visitor economy. Inbound tourism will continue to be a vital component of the UK economy after we’ve left the European Union and VisitBritain welcomes the Gatwick Growth Board’s efforts to secure and grow the airport’s future contribution.“