UK Tourism is top for economic recovery!

When the Bank of England governor Mark Carney announced that the UK economic recovery had finally ‘taken hold’ on November 13, his comments were rightly applauded. And he went on to say that unemployment is falling sooner than forecast.

But perhaps of even more interest for Bournemouth’s tourism sector is that tourism is stealing a march in the UK’s economic recovery, according to Ukinbound, the leading trade association for the UK’s incoming tourism sector.

A new report released by the group has been tracking the results of its 330-plus members and taking account of the Office for National Statistics data.

It shows that in six categories of comparison with the services, manufacturing and construction industries, inbound tourism was the clear leader.

The report revealed that some 66% of UK tourism businesses reported activity in the sector has increased during 2013 while 40% of UK tourism businesses have hired more staff in the last year.

A further 54% are confident that the sector will grow significantly in 2014 while 67% said bookings are up year on year, 47.9% said enquiries were up.

As many as 43% said profitability was up from three months ago.

Despite the positive news the industry is still facing problems – 48% said the cost of running their business had increased year on year but 50% are still charging prices as they did in 2012.

UKinbound chief executive Mary Rance said: “Tourism is one of the largest industries in the UK.

“It employs 2.7 million people, one in eleven of all people employed in the UK, and generates £136 billion in revenue for the economy.

“Tourism is certainly leading the way and it is growing too - the revenue generated by the industry grew by 9 billion in 2012.

“If this success was replicated across other sectors of the economy, the economic recovery of UK plc would be well on track!

“We remain hopeful that this report will help place tourism at the top of the political agenda, safeguarding its position in the future growing tourism to the UK and spearheading economic regeneration.”

Ukinbound has represented the interests of 300 of the UK’s inbound tourism businesses for more than 30 years.

By Sheron Crossman