The importance of you and I

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

enjoying day trips at home such as at the Beamish Museum in Co. Durham

The importance of you and I to the British economy has been shown by the Office of National Statistics. Last year we spent £57 billion on holidaying at home and on day-trips. Put it another way. 44% of all tourism receipts in the UK are due to us getting out and enjoying our own countries. And that pleases the government because less money is being taken abroad

Tourism as a whole was worth £129 billion to the UK economy. So accommodation providers, restaurants, attractions, camp sites and caravan parks and transport providers should all be doing well. But so will heritage sites, tour guides, cafes and pubs that dot our towns and villages. Visitors use supermarkets and souvenir shops, hire cars or take trains so a much wider range of businesses benefit from you and I going out for the day that might at first seem to be the case. We are driving the recovery and are far more important than the growing automotive industry for example.

Yesterday, as the Irish government presented its budget, they also announced that more visitors were visiting Ireland than the previous year. But unlike the UK where we are almost encouraged to holiday at home by having an ever-growing air passenger levy to pay they have announced that, as from April next year, their APD equivalent will disappear. But to encourage overseas visitors and their own residents to holiday at home, VAT for the hospitality sector will stay at 9%. An attempt to reduce our VAT to a special level for the hospitality sector (primarily hotels, guesthouses etc.) was knocked by government ministers last week.

We only spent £32.5 billion on holidaying abroad which was well down on figures prior to the economic malaise which afflicted all of us. What many tour operators will be asking themselves is whether our holidaying at home is a short-term answer to the economic times or a long-tern trend.

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