Tourism jobs market likely to shrink if downturn leads to all-out recession

The travel and tourism industry could shrink dramatically as a result of increased international competition and the global economic downturn, resulting in more than 100,000 fewer jobs being created in the sector next year.

A study by professional services firm Deloitte, commissioned by tourism body VisitBritain, has revealed the sector is struggling to cope with the deterioration of the world economy and increased international competition for holidaymakers.

A potential recession in 2009 could see £11bn wiped off the total economic contribution of visitors to the UK, currently worth £114bn, or 8.2% of total the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP). As a result, some 114,000 fewer jobs would be created in the sector, the report warned.

Christopher Rodrigues, chairman of VisitBritain, said: “With proper government attention and support the ‘visitor economy’ will grow strongly over the next few years. But if market failure is allowed to continue and policy barriers are not addressed, the economic impact could be considerable.”

However, he added that the recent fall in the value of the pound and the 2012 London Olympics could help boost the country’s appeal as a top destination.

There are currently 1.3 million workers in the UK’s travel and tourism sector.

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