At the time, tourism was one of the UK’s most valuable export industries and growing faster than many other sectors. Worth £127 billion to the economy overall, the UK’s tourism’s industry, represenyed 9% of GDP and supported 10% of all jobs.
The ambition for Britain was to attract 40 million inbound tourism visits by 2020, and 40.9 million overseas visitors came to the UK in 2019, spending £28.4 billion. .
These figures are a testament to tourism’s importance as a driver of economic growth and they represent people from across the globe who come to enjoy our culture, heritage and countryside. They are a reminder of the crucial role that tourism plays as well as Britain's ability to compete internationally for visitors in what is a fiercely competitive global industry.
Since 1969 we have been successfully helping to boost the growth of both inbound and domestic tourism through our wide range of activities including marketing and PR campaigns, partnership working with industry and key players, and acting as advisor to Government. Throughout our history, we have witnessed huge changes in tourism, both in the UK and as a whole and have continually honed our focus and activities to meet the needs and challenges of the day.
See our timelines below for highlights of our history, achievements and tourism developments over the past five decades.