The economic value of UK travel to the European Union must not be underestimated, Abta has warned.
UK travellers are worth over €37 billion (£33 billion) to the 27 EU economies, according to a new report released by the travel association.
It aims to highlight the significant value of UK outbound travel both to EU economies and the UK, as Brexit negotiations continue.
Abta found that the contributions to the GDP of EU countries attributable to UK travellers amounted to more than €37 billion, while outbound tourism from the UK sustains over 380,000 jobs across the EU, and supports a further 486,000 jobs indirectly through supply chains.
The areas which UK travellers spend the most in are sectors associated with travel and holidays, such as hotels, bars and restaurants, though they contribute to the whole travel sector supply chain, according to the economic analysis of UK outbound travel in the EU.
The close links also reflected the importance of the EU market for UK travel.
More than 53 million trips were taken to EU countries last year for holidays, business trips or to visit friends and relatives, up 10% on 2015.
That accounts for around three-quarters of all trips taken abroad by UK residents.
On average, every £1 million spent by UK travellers supports 62 jobs in the travel sector and wider economy in the EU27 member states.
Abta also analysed the “national institution” that is the UK summer holiday, with millions of UK holidaymakers heading away each July and August.
Seven of the most popular summer sun destinations are in the EU – Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Malta.
More than 34 million UK travellers visited these destinations last year.
A total of 14.7 million visits were to Spain – the top destination – made last year, contributing €13 billion.
Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “As Brexit negotiations continue, our message to policymakers at home and abroad is clear: the true economic value of UK outbound travel to both the EU and the UK must not be underestimated and it is vital that we are able to continue travelling confidently post-Brexit.
“Abta is urging both sides of the negotiations to reach a solution that secures these crucial rights, as quickly as possible.
“The EU is the UK’s largest travel destination, and UK outbound travel supports a huge number of jobs and small businesses across both the UK and EU.
“It is in the interests of all our citizens to find a long-term solution that works for everyone and enables us all to continue to travel with confidence.”
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