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WTTC Research Reveals | UK GDP Slumped A Shocking £148bn. In 2020

LONDON: The World Travel & Tourism Council’s annual Economic Impact Report today reveals that the dramatic collapse of the UK’s Travel & Tourism sector has wiped out a staggering £148 billion from the UK economy.

The annual EIR from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, shows the sector’s contribution to GDP, dropped by a precipitous 62.3%.

Travel & Tourism GDP fell from £238 billion (10.1%) in 2019 before the pandemic struck, to just £90 billion (4.2%), a mere 12 months later, in 2020.

The year of crippling travel restrictions, and ineffective quarantines, which have brought international travel to a grinding halt, has resulted in the loss of 307,000 Travel & Tourism jobs across the country.

However, WTTC believes the true picture could be significantly worse, if not for government fiscal and liquidity incentives, as well as furlough and job protection schemes which across all sectors is currently protecting more than 11 million jobs, hiding the true extent of the losses and the devastating social impact they could bring.

These job losses were felt across the entire UK Travel & Tourism ecosystem. The number of those employed in the UK Travel & Tourism sector tumbled from 4.27 million in 2019, to 3.96 million in 2020 – a fall of 7.2%.

The report also revealed domestic visitor spending declined by 63.2% due to nationwide lockdowns, while international spending fared even worse, because of stringent travel restrictions, ineffective quarantines and constantly changing government policies, causing a fall of 71.6%.

Gloria Guevara, President & CEO WTTC, said: “The loss of more than 300,000 Travel & Tourism jobs across the UK has had a devastating socio-economic impact, leaving huge numbers of people fearing for their future.

“But the situation could have been far worse if it were not for the government’s prompt action, which introduced job retention schemes to save millions of jobs under threat and helped to halt the total collapse of the Travel & Tourism sector.

“WTTC believes that another year of terrible losses can be avoided if the government supports the swift resumption of international travel, which will be vital to powering the turnaround of the UK economy.

“Our research shows that if  mobility and international travel resumes by June this year, the sector’s contribution to global GDP could rise sharply in 2021, by 48.5%, year-on-year.”

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