The UK public underestimate the value of outbound tourism but see the travel industry in general as vital to the economy, according to research for Travel Weekly.
The research, conducted just over a week ago, also suggests a majority of the population consider the government does “too little to support travellers and the travel industry”.
The study was conducted by Explore Research, whose researchers surveyed the views of 500 adults drawn from a representative panel of 180,000 people across the UK.
It found an overwhelming majority of respondents rated the economic value of outbound leisure travel behind inbound, domestic and business travel. Just 3% saw outbound travel as most valuable to the economy.
However, 95% of respondents considered travel and tourism as important including 45% as “very important” and 31% as “extremely important”. Just 2% said it was unimportant.
The findings come after travel association Abta published research estimating outbound travel contributes more than £22 billion a year to the UK economy, or 1.6% of GDP, and accounts for 2.6% of the workforce.
More than half (58%) of respondents in the Explore survey said the government does “too little” to support the sector. Close to one in four (28%) considered the government does “enough” and only 3% “too much”.
Older people were more likely to believe the government should do more: two thirds (66%) considered the government does too little and 22% said “enough”.
Abta released its findings, conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), at its Travel Matters conference in London earlier this month.
Cebr found UK holidaymakers spend an average £532 a head on products and services before they depart overseas on holiday, amounting to £31.2 billion a year and almost as much as total holiday spending abroad.
Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “The foreign holiday market makes a huge contribution. Inbound, outbound and domestic tourism are part of one industry.”
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