Jobs and economic growth in UK travel and tourism are set to outstrip the wider economy, according to a report released today by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

With the industry predicted to grow by 1.3% in 2012 - over double the rate of growth in the wider economy - it will directly contribute £35.6b and almost 950,000 jobs to the British economy.

Indirectly, travel and tourism are forecast to contribute over £100b to the UK economy and generate 2.3 million jobs - or 1 in 13 of all jobs.

In 2011 the industry grew by 4.1% in the UK - or five times the rate of the economy as a whole. This year, it is expected that around 30 million people will visit the UK from overseas.

The UK figures provide a marked contrast to the European Union as a whole, where a tightening of consumer spending, uncertainty around the future of the Eurozone and the economies of Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal and the impact of austerity measures kicking in will result in a 0.3% contraction of tourism.

David Scowsill, president and chief executive of WTTC, said: "At a time of significant economic hardship, the travel and tourism industry is helping to beat the recession by generating jobs and growth at a faster rate than the wider UK economy. 2012 is likely to be bolstered by the cheap pound, the continued trend for domestic holidays, and the extra bank holiday weekend for the Diamond Jubilee. The London Olympics are unlikely to have any significant effect."

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By Janet Harmer

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