|Tower of London from Tower Bridge|
copyright Nick Booker
Reacting to plans from Jeremy Hunt, the UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, for an £8m extension of the "GREAT" marketing campaign, and a further £2 million to promote domestic tourism, David Scowsill, President and CEO, WTTC said:
“Jeremy Hunt should be congratulated for recognising the huge economic and social potential of Travel and Tourism in the UK. His plans to invest in a new domestic marketing campaign to draw on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympics and to specifically target the high-spending Chinese market are sensible options. Figures from VisitBritain show that the average spend per visit of Chinese visitors to UK is £1677, compared to the average spend per visit from all countries of £563.
But, the UK is beckoning tourists with one hand and pushing them away with the other. The UK has the highest air tax of any country in the world. Heathrow and Gatwick are effectively full and there is no discernible long-term aviation policy that will provide the routes to China on the scale being provided by other European countries. UK’s visa policy which requires visitors from key growth markets, such as China and India, to go through an expensive, time-consuming and cumbersome process to obtain visas is also a clear deterrent.
Jeremy Hunt is right to want to “turbo-charge” UK tourism, but a much more fundamental reform of visa, taxation and aviation policy is required to make a real difference.”
According to WTTC figures, the Travel and Tourism industry is expected to directly contribute £35.6 billion and almost 950,000 jobs to the British economy during 2012. When the wider economic impacts of the industry are taken into account, Travel and Tourism is forecast to contribute over £100 billion to the UK economy and generate 2.3 million jobs – or 1 in 13 of all jobs in the UK.
The World Travel and Tourism Council is the global authority on the economic and social contribution of Travel and Tourism. It promotes sustainable growth for the industry, working with governments and international institutions to create jobs, to drive exports and to generate prosperity.
In 2011 Travel and Tourism accounted for 255 million jobs globally. At US$6.3 trillion (9.1% of GDP) the sector is a key driver for investment and economic growth. For more than 20 years, the World Travel and Tourism Council has been the voice of this industry globally. Members are the Chairs, Presidents and Chief Executives of the world’s leading, private sector Travel and Tourism businesses. These Members bring specialist knowledge to guide government policy and decision-making, raising awareness of the importance of the industry as an economic generator of prosperity.