Tourism adds £19bn to UK economy in 2012

With the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee attracting visitors from across the world, 2012 was a bumper year for tourism in the UK.

According to VisitBritain's annual review, tourism added nearly £19 billion to the UK economy during the year, with the country receiving a record number of overseas tourists in six of the last 12 months.

Figures show a total of around 31 million people made a trip to the UK during the year, spending around £18.7 billion – a rise of five per cent on 2011.

And this has helped to sustain and create a number of jobs in the UK, with hospitality employment in particular receiving a boost.

According to VisitBritain, tourism – both domestic and international – is the country's fifth largest employer, supporting 2.6 million jobs and contributing £115 billion to the economy and in the past two years it has accounted for a third of all new employment in the UK.

"Tourism offers not just jobs but careers for life," said VisitBritain chairman Christopher Rodrigues.

"It employs young people who are now in training to become ambassadors for Britain, welcoming visitors to their hotels, attractions and shops – taking on the mantle of the Games Makers."

The Olympic and Paralympic Games proved to be an extra boost to the tourism industry and job creation, with the figures revealing that during August, while there was a slight five per cent dip in the number of visits compared with a year ago, the amount spent by visitors reached a monthly record of £2.4 billion, nine per cent up on the year before.

"2012 has shown just what Britain can offer. It has re-energised our image overseas and triggered the desire to visit our country," said Mr Rodrigues.

Looking ahead to 2013, VisitBritain forecasts the volume of international tourism to Britain will grow by three per cent – meaning almost one million extra visitors – while their spend is predicted to reach £19 billion for the first time.

Berkeley Scott is a specialist recruitment agency to help source hospitality recruitment jobs