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An introduction to the tourism industry in the UK

Tourism industry

Tourism is one of the most rapidly growing and exciting industries in the UK. It contributed £127.4 billion to the UK GDP in 2015 (Tourism Alliance, 2016). The UK is forecast to have a tourism industry worth over £257 billion by 2025 (Visit Britain, 2017). The global economic contribution of the industry was almost $7.6 trillion in 2014 (Statista, n.d.).

Structure of the tourism industry

Tourism is a dynamic industry in the UK. It consists of a number of organisations both national and international. Tourism is a devolved matter; therefore, each country in the UK has its own national agency to promote tourism at home and abroad.

VisitBritain/VisitEngland plays an important role to promote England’s tourism. It works as a non-departmental public body which is funded by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport. VisitScotland, VisitWales and Northern Ireland Tourist Board are the respective bodies for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. London has its own promotional agency called London & Partners which is funded by the Mayor of London (VisitBritain, n.d). All these organisations are responsible for the development and promotion of their tourism products.

Services in the tourism industry

A wide variety of organisations are involved in the tourism industry to provide different services to tourists. While hotels provide accommodation, restaurants provide food. Some hotels have their own in-house restaurants and therefore provide both accommodation and catering services. Travel agencies, tourist guide services, and tour operators are some other organisations in the industry.

Jobs in the tourism industry

Certainly, there are many jobs in the tourism industry. Approximately 3 million people work in the industry. The industry provides job candidates with diverse employment opportunities. Travel agents, concierges, tourist guides, housekeepers, and amusement attendants are some of the popular jobs. It is true that some of the jobs are very seasonal and low-paid. However, the industry provides workers with flexibility and opportunities to meet new people from around the world.

Criticisms of the tourism industry

Negative impact of tourism is evident in many areas. Overcrowding of public places, waste and environmental damage, pollution, wear and tear of many parks and other attractions are some of the negative results of mass tourism. Consequently, the issues such as sustainable tourism, responsible tourism, eco-tourism etc. are drawing a lot of public attention.


As mentioned above, the UK is forecast to have a tourism industry worth over £257 billion by 2025 which will support approximately 3.8 million jobs. This is an exciting industry which offers flexible hours and opportunities to experience cultural diversities. Skills and experience gained in this industry can also be used in other industries and in almost every part of the world. However, prospective job candidates must have patience, flexibility, and excellent interpersonal skills in order to thrive in the tourism industry.

The article publication date: 11 March 2017

Further reading/references

VisitBritain (n.d.) Structure of tourism in Britain, available at (Accessed 05 March 2017)

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Author: Joe David

Joe David has years of teaching experience both in the UK and abroad. He writes regularly online on a variety of topics. He has a keen interest in business, hospitality, and tourism management. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies and a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing Management.

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