ABTA reveals the substantial economic value of leisure aviation

Cebr Research shows annual contribution of £14.1bn to UK economy ABTA has today published a specially commissioned report into the economic value of leisure aviation. The study, carried out by the Centre for Economics Business Research (Cebr), was commissioned by ABTA to understand fully the importance of leisure aviation to the UK economy. The report found that it contributed a significant £14.1 billion of a Gross Value Added in 2010, equivalent to 1.1% of GDP, greater than the contribution of the utilities, accountancy or advertising industries.

The Cebr report has found that the leisure industry accounts for 1.2% of total UK employment equivalent to 289,000 full time jobs in 2010. The impact on job creation of leisure aviation goes beyond direct employment with a further 246,000 employed by suppliers to the industry. Mark Tanzer, CEO, ABTA will present the findings of the report to the Airports Commission on the 9th July in a hearing on demand and connectivity, where he will also present ABTA’s views on what the Government needs to take into consideration to develop a long term aviation strategy for the UK.

The report also considers the substantial contribution made by leisure aviation to the UK’s business connectivity with the rest of world. Researchers analysed 446 routes from 2012 and found that on 428 of these, over half the passengers were travelling for leisure purposes, with half of the routes showing a leisure passenger share exceeding 90%. This underlines that many routes essential to the business health of the UK would not be viable without the contribution of leisure travellers. Additionally, leisure passengers play a key role in supporting the viability of routes for business travellers to high growth economies, such as Brazil, India and the UAE.

Leisure traveller numbers to countries with high growth economies* grew by over 96.6% between 2002-2012. This was equivalent to an increase of 4.2 million leisure passengers, alongside an increase in business passengers of 660,000. Tanzer commented: “This report makes an unarguable case for the importance of leisure aviation to the UK economy, as a wealth and job creator without which many air routes essential to the business health of the UK would simply not exist. The Government must recognise the key role leisure aviation plays in supporting the economy throughout the UK and ensure that support for the sector is built in to any future aviation strategy.”

Regional contribution

Leisure aviation also makes a significant contribution to regional economies with the economic output of leisure aviation in Wales, the North East and Northern Ireland accounting for the highest proportions of regional Gross Value Added contributions of between 1.4 and 1.5%, areas of the country where stimulants of economic activity and jobs are at a premium. In terms of absolute impact, leisure aviation provides the largest contribution to the South East, London and North West economies. * For the purposes of this study, emerging and high growth markets (EHGM) include: China, India, South Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Nigeria, Russia, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

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