Long haul passengers boost local economy and jobs, according to new Gatwick report on the ‘Visitor Economy’

28 February 2018

Over 1.3 million foreign and 780,000 domestic visitors arriving at Gatwick spent a total of 12.1 million nights in the South East in 2017 – contributing £1.7 billion to regional GDP and supporting 34,500 local jobs - according to a new report on the airport’s impact on ‘Visitor Economy'.

Visitors spending time in the South East represent a quarter of the airport’s 5.5 million total visitors.  The most popular destinations in the South East were:

  • Brighton and Hove (2.3 million nights)
  • Eastbourne (1.1 million nights)
  • Croydon (1.1 million nights)
  • Crawley (1 million nights)
  • Guildford (0.5 million nights)

The report also showed that the South East receives a £60 million, 1180 job boost every time 100,000 more passengers from Asia arrive at Gatwick - highlighting the importance of the airport’s recent new routes to Hong Kong, Chongqing, and Taipei, with other new routes to Asia expected soon.

Passengers visiting from Asia are shown to spend an average £1185 per visit – compared to the £705 overall average – with those arriving from USA (£1021), Australia (£1047) and the ‘Rest of Americas’ (£1117) also spending considerably on items such as airfares, taxis, rail tickets, hotel stays, restaurant meals, retail purchase and visits to leisure and cultural attractions.

The report formed the basis of three roundtables – hosted by the Gatwick Growth Board - where national, regional and local stakeholders discussed how Gatwick can grow its contribution to both national, regional and local economies.

Overall the report showed that:

  • 5.5 million foreign visitors arrived in the UK via Gatwick in 2017 and spent 40.3 million nights in the country
  • This contributed £4.7 billion to UK GDP and 93,000 jobs to the UK economy
  • In addition, £1.2 billion was added to the UK Exchequer through taxes on transactions, wages and profits due to this activity.

Steve Norris, Gatwick Growth Board Co-Chair said:

“As a vital piece of UK infrastructure, Gatwick provides a significant contribution to local, regional and national economies and this report shows that this still has room to grow – both in terms of the number of inbound passengers and the value of each visit. 

“As Gatwick continues to grow, it is our job as the Growth Board to ensure the benefits it brings to the economy are felt, not just nationally, but also by the airport’s regional and local neighbours and these roundtables have provided plenty of positive ideas as to how.”

Baroness Tessa Jowell, Gatwick Growth Board Co-Chair said:

“This report shows just how valuable long-haul visitors arriving through Gatwick are to the UK. The airport already offers over 60 long haul routes but securing more to North and South America, and to Asia, will bring even more high value visitors into the UK economy; growing connections to these markets should be an integral part of Gatwick’s future strategy.”  

Nigel Smith, Chief Executive of Tourism for the South East, said:

“Gatwick is surrounded by some of the UK’s most historic and beautiful tourist destinations and the airport plays an important role in bringing visitors into the South East region.  I applaud Gatwick’s efforts to showcase the many attractions right on its doorstep and support the visitor economy throughout the region.”

Rosemary French, Gatwick Diamond Business, said:

“This report shows how important visitors flying into Gatwick Airport are to our local and regional economies, whether they come from abroad or from other parts of the UK. Tens of thousands of local jobs and a great many businesses rely on these visitors and we should do everything we can to support growth at the airport, particularly new long haul routes to destinations in North and South America, and Asia.”


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