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business Essential news, comment and analysis


Atcore’s Dave Cruickshank: ‘Bookings continue to grow faster than GDP’


Trade’s turnover rockets by almost 10% in 2017


Sector’s income grew by more than five times as much as UK GDP last year. Lee Hayhurst reports on the key findings in the 2018 Travolution Innovation Report


Combined travel agent and tour operator turnover in the UK grew last year by nearly 10% to £36.19 billion, according to exclusive research for Travel Weekly sister title Travolution.


Government figures, analysed


in the latest annual Travolution Innovation Report, show 2017


growth was more than double the annual average of 4.8% since the 2008 economic crash. It was the seventh successive


year of growth since a 14% year- on-year contraction in 2010 when combined agent and operator turnover was £21.26 billion.


72 travelweekly.co.uk 22 February 2018 The performance of the sector


compared favourably with the UK’s rise in gross domestic product, which stood at 1.8% in 2017. CAA figures for airport terminal passengers showed a 6.7% increase in 2017 to 286.3 million, following an identical rise in 2016. Dave Cruickshank, chief


executive of Innovation Report sponsor and travel technology specialist Atcore, said there were positive signs for the sector. “When Brexit was first announced there were a few smaller companies that put some technology decisions on hold for


three to six months, but that’s all come and gone now. “People are not citing political


or economic uncertainty for investment decisions at the moment. We have not seen bookings fall off a cliff; if anything they continue to grow faster than GDP.” Office for National Statistics data


analysed in the Innovation Report also revealed a positive picture in terms of the number of companies and employees in the travel agency and tour operating sectors. In 2017 there were more than


twice as many travel agents as tour operators in the UK (4,205 versus 1,885), employing more than three times as many staff (67,666 versus 21,958). The number of travel agents


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