ABTA research shows outbound travel positioned to drive economic recovery


Latest economic research reveals outbound travel’s contribution to the UK economy and potential for growth

ABTA has released headline findings from its latest research on the economic contribution made to the UK by outbound travel, with the full findings due to be published next month in a joint report with UKinbound.

According to the analysis, which was carried out by York Aviation on behalf of ABTA, with the right tax and policy framework, the UK outbound travel industry is forecast to grow 15% by 2027, from 2019 levels.

The study also reveals that the UK’s outbound travel industry:

  • is worth £49bn to the UK economy annually (Gross Value Added);
  • supports 720,000 jobs across the UK;
  • raises £6.9bn a year in tax revenues to HM Treasury;
  • £51bn is spent each year by consumers in UK before they head on their trips overseas.

The figures come as the Chancellor last week set out the UK Government’s agenda for growth, with ABTA’s research showing that, with the right Government framework, the UK outbound travel industry’s growth is set to outperform most other parts of the UK economy.

An important and ongoing part of ABTA’s work is demonstrating to politicians the valuable contribution the outbound travel industry makes to the UK economy. The findings will underpin ABTA’s lobbying work with Government, and politicians across the spectrum including the devolved administrations. The headline figures have already been shared with the Prime Minister, Chancellor, Business Secretary and Transport Secretary.

This is the fourth time that ABTA has commissioned in-depth research of this kind and it is the most comprehensive and detailed piece of analysis in this area to date. This research is based on travel figures from 2019, which is the last full set of data available, with a forecast for what travel will look like in five years’ time.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA – The Travel Association said:

“There is always a risk that outbound travel’s valuable contribution to the UK economy is overlooked because it is wrongly perceived as an industry which takes value out of the economy, when this couldn’t be further from the truth. Outbound travel is a huge supporter of jobs and contributor to the economy and exchequer, as well as a strong driver for growth. We will be continuing to make that case to this Government and to MPs.

“Obviously the industry is still recovering from the impact of the pandemic and there are challenges to navigate, including the cost of living and wider economic health. But the return to demand as travel restrictions lifted early this year shows just how important holidays are for people and early signs are that they will continue to be a spending priority.”

The full report will be published in October, which will outline the combined contribution from international travel and enable an evaluation of the worth of travel and tourism to each constituency across the UK.


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