UK: Value of tourism could double by 2025, says VisitBritain report

King's College Chapel and Clare College in Cambridge. The value of inbound tourism to the UK is fo

King's College Chapel and Clare College in Cambridge. The value of inbound tourism to the UK is forecast to grow from over �21bn in 2013 to �57bn by 2025, according to a new report. - Credit: PA

The value of tourism to the UK economy could double by the middle of the next decade, according to a report.

Tourism could also help create hundreds of thousands of new jobs over the next few years, the report commissioned by VisitBritain forecast.

The predictions come in a report by professional services company Deloitte which reckoned that the tourism economy was set to grow by 3.8% a year, faster than manufacturing, construction and retail.

The report predicted that tourism’s worth to the economy was likely to grow from the current £127billion a year to £257bn by 2025, representing 10% of the UK gross domestic product.

Tourism jobs are expected to grow from three million now to 3.8million by 2025, which would be around 11% of all jobs. Those tourism jobs would be distributed right across the UK.

The report said that inbound tourism would continue to be the fastest-growing tourism sector - with spending by international visitors forecast to grow by more than 6% a year. The value of inbound tourism is forecast to grow from over £21bn in 2013 to £57bn by 2025.

This would mean that there would be an international tourism balance of payments surplus within a decade - meaning that the amount spent in the UK by overseas visitors would be more than the amount spent abroad by UK residents. It is many years since such a surplus was reported.

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The report said that if Britain were to become as successful as its European competitors in the new emerging growth markets for tourism (such as China), with further investment it could increase the value of inbound tourism by an additional £12bn by 2025. This would be on top of the forecast figure of £57 billion and would take the total to £69bn.

VisitBritain chairman Christopher Rodrigues said: “Tourism has become a bedrock of the UK economy - generating a third of the UK’s net new jobs between 2010 and 2012, and still has the ability to grow at levels that will lead other industries out of the economic slowdown.

“Inbound tourism is already one of Britain’s top export industries and will continue to be the fastest-growing sector of the industry.”

He went on: “Inbound tourism’s record performance since the Olympics bodes well for the future but to achieve the industry’s full potential we need to continue to raise our game, marry policy and marketing and promote Britain even more aggressively overseas.”

Tourism Minister Helen Grant said: “This is a very positive report and illustrates just how much potential the industry has in terms of job creation, growth and deficit reduction, which is the Government’s number one priority.”

“The commitment of the industry to creating jobs and supporting young people has been brought into sharp focus by the British Hospitality Association’s `Big Conversation’.

“It has committed to creating 300,000 new jobs by 2020. One thousand employers have already pledged to create 5,000 jobs and 15,000 apprenticeships. This is truly impressive, and it’s initiatives like this which will help to realise the potential outlined in today’s report.”