Whilst tourism may look like 'fun' - it's actually serious economics - contributing a staggering £22bn (9% of GDP) to the UK economy in 2015 alone. Putting this into context, that makes inbound tourism the 7th biggest export earner for the UK - on a par with the automotive and pharmaceutical industries.
UKinbound continues to urge the Government to Acknowledge, Build, and Commit to tourism; investing in an industry that is showing year-on-year growth, boasting record-breaking figures with visitor numbers and spending generated by a total of 36.1 million visitors to the UK in 2015 - an increase of 5%.
We've outlined our asks below:
We need help from the Government, both national and regional to create the optimum fiscal and infrastructure environment to help this dynamic industry grow even further and to ACKNOWLEDGE:
The travel trade as the foundation for tourism success
The travel trade, which UKinbound represents, is the real engine behind inbound tourism's success. The travel trade ensure the UK is export-ready and offer routes to market across the globe.
International visitors generate £22bn in export earnings for the UK
Every additional international visitor to the UK brings £611 in export earnings. Tourism is driving economic growth and has the power to re-balance the UK's economy.
Tourism is the UK's third biggest employer
1 in 3 jobs are in tourism. Unlike other industries, tourism cannot be mechanised - therefore an investment in tourism, is an investment in people for the future.
Exponential growth is possible, but only if the Government BUILD:
A strong national and local tourism structure
Invest in destination management organisations to support product growth and improve quality to deliver a high quality experience to ensure repeat visitors and encourage wider UK travel.
A world-class tourism infrastructure
Build a world-class airport infrastructure, across the UK which will increase visitor capacity, increase tourism's GDP contribution, generate more jobs and regenerate areas throughout Britain.
A transport network that supports the leisure industry
To encourage wider UK experiences for international visitors. 51% of international visitors only visit London. 77% said they would like to explore more of the UK. Building a transport network that supports the leisure industry will help do just that.
We therefore need Government to COMMIT to tourism:
To sustained funding for international destination marketing
The GREAT campaign has been incredibly effective in promoting the UK internationally. Sustained funding for this initiative is essential to reaching more destinations globally; maintaining our competitiveness overseas; to welcome new and repeat visitors from both established and emerging source markets.
To a review of tourism taxation
The UK currently ranks 139 out of 140 for our competitiveness globally for our taxation. As the pound strengthens, the UK becomes even more expensive to visit. We already have higher rates of tourism taxation than most of our competitors (Air Passenger Duty and VAT). We want the Government to commit to reviewing the taxation of the tourism industry and identify opportunities to promote growth.
To improve the competitiveness of the UK's visa system
Whilst we welcome the most recent improvements to the UK's visa system, there is still more that can be done to ensure it is as customer-friendly and accessible as possible - including greater provision for online services; opportunity to complete in own language and more mobile VAC's (Visa Application Centres).
The tourism industry has delivered huge growth in recent years and created 1 in 3 new jobs since the last Election. It has the power to transform communities and regions, as well as showcasing our world-class cities and towns.
Investing in a winning industry should be a no-brainer for the new Government -
as simple as ABC.
Support the tourism industry with sharing your asks via Twitter and using #TourismABC.