The total value of tourism in the UK is
set to rise by more than 60
per cent to £188bn over the next decade, according to an
independent report commissioned by
national tourism body, VisitBritain.
Research from Deloitte and Oxford Economics forecasts
the favourable exchange rate, the lure of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic
Games and the appeal of Britain’s
world-renowned attractions, should ensure the sector grows at an above average
3.5 per cent per annum between now and 2020.
The number of jobs supported by tourism over that period
is predicted to rise by 264,000, from 2.63m now to
the total economic contribution of the visitor economy, covering firms directly
and indirectly involved in tourism, is poised to expand faster than
construction, retail, chemicals, transport, the gas and electricity utilities
and manufacturing. Only financial and business services look more promising.
Tourism is currently benefiting because the pound has
weakened considerably against both the dollar and euro in the last three years,
making Britain a good deal for foreign
visitors. The report suggests that a further 10 per cent depreciation in the
pound relative to other international currencies could attract an extra one
million international visitors to the UK in 2011 and 2012. These visitors
would be expected to spend an extra £300m in both
VisitBritain’s chairman, Christopher Rodrigues, says: “This detailed and rigorous report
from Deloitte is enormously encouraging.
“This makes it clear that tourism, already
Britain’s fifth largest industry and
third biggest earner of foreign exchange, is going to be central to the health
of the British economy for years to come,”