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Travel agents assist surge in fourth quarter GDP growth

Travel agencies across the UK had a big part to play in driving growth in the service sector in the final three months of 2016.

The travel agency industry grew by 7.3% and contributed 0.05% to headline gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the quarter.

Given the success noted between October and December, ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer has called on the government to do even more to support the sector, especially with Brexit on the horizon.

Although overall economic growth was 0.6% in the quarter – the same as during the previous six months – the services sector actually grew by 0.8%.

A successful period for hotels, restaurants and distribution firms aided the rise, while retail sales and travel agency bookings were also strong, data from the Office for National Statistics shows.

Mr Tanzer lauded the contribution of travel agency services and said the growth shows that customers value the travel advice and expertise they are able to receive.

“The figures reflect the significant contribution that travel and tourism makes to the economy, delivering £127 billion annually,” he explained.

He spoke of the importance of securing a positive deal during Brexit negotiations and of removing potential barriers to further economic growth.

Despite concerns and uncertainty relating to Brexit, it would appear that many individuals and choosing to carry on with their holiday plans regardless.

January is always a popular time to book and it has been no different in 2017, with many travel agents reporting thriving activity.

Gatwick Airport has already named Dubai, New York, Las Vegas, Vancouver and Barbados as locations to keep an eye on.

Meanwhile the Post Office has named Portugal’s Algarve region, Sunny Beach in Bulgaria and Spain’s Costa del Sol as the destinations for travellers wishing to enjoy a great holiday while keeping costs down.

If you’re planning on travelling overseas in the year ahead, be sure to organise your family travel insurance in advance.

Date Created: 30 January 2017

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