News / Press release / Economy

Travel and tourism exports help drive growth

Travel was the single biggest change in exports in the first quarter of 2024, helping contribute to GDP growth.

Trade statistics from the Office for National Statistics show that both import and export of travel services increase in Q1 2024. Travel exports was the largest growth category, increasing by £700 million.

Our response

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality, said: “Today’s GDP figures are an indication that we are beginning to see the light at the end of a long tunnel for the wider economy, which will hopefully embolden consumer confidence and, in turn, improve the fortunes of hospitality businesses.

“These figures also make clear the importance of travel and tourism as an export product, which was the single biggest positive change in this data.

“However, hospitality GDP remained flat in the first quarter and that is reflective of the cost challenges the sector continues to face. We need to see the cost burden for the sector rebalanced and reduced so businesses have the ability to invest in their business and grow.

“Harnessing the potential of hospitality, tourism and travel, both at home and abroad, can really deliver on the economic ambitions of the nation, and it’s crucial the Government recognises the strategic importance of our sector.

“All of this can combine to give businesses the confidence and financial headroom they need to invest in their businesses, which will drive economic growth, create jobs and encourage regeneration of our towns and cities.”