WTTC predicts UK travel and tourism growth in 2012

The travel and tourism industry will grow 1.3% in the United Kingdom in 2012 — more than double the rate of growth in the wider economy, predicted to be 0.6% by the International Monetary Fund — according to a new report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

Travel and tourism is expected to directly contribute £35.6 billion (US$56.4 billion) and almost 950,000 jobs to the British economy, WTTC reported. When the wider economic impacts of the industry are taken into account, travel and tourism is forecast to contribute more than £100 billion (US$158.4 billion) to the U.K. economy and generate 2.3 million jobs — one in 13 of all U.K. jobs. During 2012 some 30 million people will visit the United Kingdom, according to WTTC.

The optimistic U.K. forecast for travel and tourism contrasts with that for the European Union, where tightening of consumer spending; uncertainty around the future of the Eurozone and peripheral economies of Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal; and the impact of austerity measures will result in a 0.3% contraction of the industry, WTTC reported.

“At a time of significant economic hardship, the travel and tourism industry is helping to beat the recession,” said David Scowsill, president and CEO of WTTC. “2012 is likely to be bolstered by the cheap pound, the continued trend for domestic holidays and the extra bank holiday weekend for the Golden Jubilee. The London Olympics are unlikely to have any significant effect.”