English Tourism Week - the case for Tourism

Making the case for tourism

Since today is the start of English Tourism Week, what better time to take stock of the importance of tourism – one of the few sectors that has continued to grow despite a tough economic climate. Tourism is vital to our economy and the key to unlocking growth and here is why…

In pure economic terms tourism is worth almost £127 billion to the UK, that’s over 9% of GDP and positions the industry as one of the top sectors in the UK and to the global economy.

The NCTA’s focus is on coastal destinations, where tourism contributes £11.6 billion to the Treasury – it represents some 30% of all domestic holiday trips and 31% of total holiday expenditure. What’s more, it is often the dominant economy for coastal towns and a key source of employment.

And with one third of all new jobs in the UK created over the past three years in the tourism sector, it offers one of the best and most diverse career opportunities.

As the UK’s third largest employer, tourism truly is an industry for everyone. With more than 40% of employees below the age of 30, and higher than average employment for minority groups, the tourism industry provides real opportunities to the groups who have been hit hardest by the economic downturn.

People are at the heart of the tourism industry and working to deliver high customer satisfaction and a world-class visitor experience requires a great deal of expertise. Instead of being seen as an industry requiring a low-skill set, tourism should be recognised as an industry with a low entry level requirement but sky-high potential!

This week Bournemouth will host The Big Conversation which will bring together hospitality leaders with young people to create new apprenticeships, work placements and job opportunities.The future of our industry is in the hands of the next generation and it’s critical they understand its importance and are excited about the career potential within it.

The NCTA is focused on delivering economic growth in coastal destinations, focusing initially on Bournemouth. The Academy works with the industry and the destination management organisation to improve the visitor experience, bridge gaps in research and provide vital business support and training.

In some parts of the country and particularly in coastal destinations, public investment in tourism services has been greatly reduced over the last few years. The NCTA believes that investment in research, business support and training is essential.

Over the next 18 months, the Academy aims to demonstrate that development based on research and knowledge alongside the delivery of a superior visitor experience, are key factors in creating sustainable growth. And they will be vital if the industry is to retain its strong position in the UK and global economy.

We welcome your support in making the case for tourism and ensuring that it remains at the heart of our economy and in the minds of leaders and MPs.

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Samantha Richardson