New Report Also Hints How Sector’s Growth Can Be Sustained
London remains a key driving force behind growth in the UK’s leisure and tourism industry but there has also been an increase in visitor numbers and spending across several other regions, according to a new report analysing trends in the sector.
Produced by national law firm Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), the Consumer Powerhouse special report provides an estimate of GVA* growth and job creation within key cities across the UK with a specific focus on the retail, leisure, tourism and food and drink industries.
Published this month, the report also features specific analysis of the tourism and leisure industry, with it revealing how the former has been the fastest growing sector in the UK in terms of employment since 2010.
It also revealed that while London led the way in terms of visitor spending, the North East experienced the highest growth across the period with a 52% rise in spending by visitors. It was also revealed that the East Midlands, East of England and Northern Ireland also attracted more visitors.
Looking ahead, the report made several recommendations regarding how growth in tourism and leisure could be sustained. These included the need to ensure visitors get a warm welcome by employing people who speak an array of languages and also taking steps to cater for different religious and cultural needs.
In order to shift the focus from London, it added that local governments across the UK should invest in improving tour parties and ensuring online information is available in a range of languages. Furthermore, the report advised that the UK should boost its capacity for visitors to travel and stay by building a new runway in London and developing new air routes linking the country to emerging markets.
Specifically on the issue of leisure, it added that local government should take steps to engage more with the active leisure sector, with fitness being a key trend which has seen huge growth across recent years.
Expert Opinion“As we have seen throughout this report, the leisure and tourism sector is a key driver for economic growth here in the UK and across the world.
“There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. The sector is growing at a steady rate and consumer confidence is generally on the rise and people generally having more disposable income to spend on themselves. However, consumer businesses must constantly invest and innovate to remain relevant and adapt to the new consumer.”
Victoria Brackett - Group Chief Commercial Officer
Josie Dent, Economist at Cebr said: “While London continues to receive the highest number of tourists every year out of the UK regions, there are signs of strong growth elsewhere. The North West had the third highest number of international visitors in 2016, and recorded 6% annual growth. Similarly, Scotland had the third highest spending by international visitors, with 9% annual growth in spending in 2016.”
*GVA – gross value added – the total value of goods and services produced