The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), a UK-based association of travel agents, has said that recent visits to Northern Ireland by tourists and other travellers have had a positive affect on the country’s economy.
An independent study shows that outbound travel directly contributes over £420M to the Northern Ireland economy, representing 1.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. The research also highlighted that the outbound sector is currently providing around 18,000 full time jobs, representing 2.7 percent of the full time workforce of Northern Ireland.
Mark Tanzer, the association’s chief executive officer, said, ‘Many people falsely assume that going abroad means money taken out of the NI economy. This report proves conclusively that that is simply not the case. It shows that the outbound sector is a vibrant and healthy contributor to the NI economy and a significant source of jobs and employment.
With this in mind the Government must recognise and support outbound travel in its current and future policies and planning strategies to deliver growth to the wider economy.’
The study has also highlighted that as outbound travel is customer-focused and often requires the personal touch, it provides jobs that are generally difficult to replace with technology, and as a result they should continue to be an asset to the economy.
The outbound travel sector also provides jobs to the supplier sector of the industry, and in Northern Ireland this accounts for around 27,000 full time jobs, representing 4 percent of the country’s workforce.
UK holidaymakers spend around £532 per head, or £31.2bn annually, in the UK on products and services, preparing for outbound travel, almost the same as the expenditure incurred in travelling abroad, which is £31.6bn annually.