The UK’s travel and tourism sector is responsible for 11.9% of all jobs in the country, while financial services contributes 8.9% and banking 3.4%, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). Additionally, in terms of international arrivals, the UK is the seventh most popular tourist destinations in the world, and the fourth largest in Europe.

Tourism was the second fastest growing sector in the UK (at 3.9% per annum) between 2010 and 2018, behind automotive manufacturing (5.6%). Contrastingly, the banking sector has slowed the most, by 1.1% per annum.


“[This research highlights that the] travel and tourism sector underpins much of UK spending and supports jobs. The WTTC commends the UK government for recognising the clear importance of the industry as a driver of economic growth and for its strategy in spreading the benefits of the industry across the country,” said Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of the WTTC. 

The global picture is similar that of the UK, with travel and tourism making up one-tenth of the world’s GDP in 2018, putting it ahead of agriculture, banking, automotive manufacturing and mining. On a global level, one in five jobs created in the past five years have been in the tourism industry, equating to 319 million jobs.

For these findings, the WTTC conducted a study across 26 countries and 10 regions to examine the role of the tourism sector in the global economy.