Economic impact and employment

In 2013, Deloitte estimated that when direct and indirect impacts are considered, tourism in England contributed £106 billion in GDP or 9% of the national total.

Further details of Deloitte’s estimates can be found in Tourism: jobs and growth – The Economic Contribution of the Tourism Economy in the UK (PDF, 4MB).

Since 2008, the Office for National Statistics has produced a series of Tourism Satellite Accounts (TSAs) for the UK. This uses demand (consumer spend) and supply (business turnover) information to work out the direct contribution of tourism to the economy. Estimates are also available at regional (NUTS1) and sub-regional (NUTS2 and 3) levels.

In 2014, the direct GVA of tourism in the UK was estimated at £59.6 billion. Prior to that, tourism GVA growth has been estimated as:

Year TDGVA £ millions Change (%)
2008 49,444  
2009 49,217 -0.5
2010 49,148 -0.1
2011 53,947 9.8
2012 57,344 6.3
2013 58,712 2.4
2014 59,621 1.5











Find out more about the ONS’s most recent TSA calculations.

Download the most recent estimate of regional and sub-regional GVA (2011) (PDF, 224KB).

This analysis will be updated during the course of 2016.

Tourism employment

The number of people employed in tourism can tell us a lot about the industry’s impact on the economy.

There are two ways tourism employment can be considered:

1. Jobs supported by tourism

Deloitte's 2013 report found that when direct impacts are taken into account, tourism in England supports 1.4 million jobs (5% of the total), jobs that would not exist without spending by tourists and tourism businesses. This rises to 2.6 million (9%) when direct and indirect impacts are considered. 

These figures are calculated in the report Tourism: jobs and growth - The economic contribution of the tourism economy in the UK (PDF, 4MB) produced by Deloitte and Oxford Economics for VisitBritain.

The same report estimates that to create one job in the UK tourism sector requires an additional spend of £54,000 (at 2013 prices).

2. Jobs in tourism industries

In December 2014, just over three million people were employed in 'tourism industries' in England.

This included:

  • 1.3 million people in full-time employment
  • 1.2 million people in part-time employment
  • 0.5 million people who were self-employed

'Tourism industries' are a defined subset of business and organisation types which – according to international definitions – are categorised as tourism (see here for a list of Tourism SIC codes (Excel, 11KB). This definition is broader than the 'jobs supported by' definition.

For example, anyone working in 'food and beverage serving activities' is classified as working in tourism industries. However, not all of those working in pubs and restaurants serve tourists. In some places, most customers are local residents, while in others (e.g. coastal resorts) the majority are likely to be visitors. Consequently, this is a less precise measurement of how tourism supports jobs, but it has the advantage of being easy to calculate and easy to track over time.

Using this definition also allows for an analysis of the characteristics of those employed in tourism industries, both in terms of demographic characteristics and geographic distribution.

Glossary of economic terms

VisitEngland and Optimal Economics have produced a Glossary of Economic Terms (PDF, 276KB), which provides definitions of different economic concepts with how these relate to tourism.