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Steven Freudmann - Parliamentary Review
Everyone recognises the value of inbound and domestic tourism to the UK but in my experience, not everyone appreciates the value of outbound tourism.
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Steven Freudmann - Parliamentary Review

"Everyone recognises the value of inbound and domestic tourism to the UK but in my experience, not everyone appreciates the value of outbound tourism. Recent research reveals that the overall annual contribution of the outbound travel industry to the UK economy is £37.1bn – a growth of 36% since 2014.  There are over 220,00 people directly employed by the outbound travel industry, with a further 526,00 jobs dependent on the sector.  

UK residents made a total of 70.4 million outbound trips in 2016, an increase of 7% on the previous year.  Holidays are the main purpose of the trips for outbound tourists followed by visiting friends and relatives and business trips and, as you might expect, July and August are the most popular months due to the long school holidays.

It is somewhat ironic that as the threat of Brexit looms, Europe is far and away the most popular destination for UK tourists, representing over 75% of the total outbound trips.  The EU countries Spain, France, Italy and Germany are the most visited destinations whilst the USA is the most visited non-European destination with around 6% of total visits.

Anything that is seen as an impediment to travel is regarded as a threat by the outbound travel industry and that is why, in a recent poll, ITT members voted overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the EU.  Since the referendum in 2016 the outbound travel industry has felt the impact of the significant drop in the value of sterling. It is obvious that overseas accommodation and services must be paid for in foreign currency, but it is also true that all airline jet fuel is paid for in US Dollars, hence the concern about any devaluation of our currency. 

The outbound travel industry fears the imposition of the requirement for EU visas with the associated costs and administrative burden.  Airline de-regulation, reciprocal health agreements, visa-free travel including freedom of movement for British travel employees and the removal of mobile roaming charges are amongst the long list of advantages that the EU has brought to the outbound travel industry.  The risk of losing all or any of these benefits is a real concern to those working in our sector."

Dr Steven Freudmann F.Inst.T.T., Chairman, Institute of travel and Tourism


Published: Tuesday, June 25, 2019

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