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Travel and tourist services

The travel services and tourist services industry can be divided into:

  • Travel services – these support the wider travel and tourism sector and include, for example, Thomas Cook, TUI, Co-operative Travel Group, and STA Travel
  • Tourist services – these support inbound and domestic tourism and comprise:
  • National and regional tourist boards e.g. Visit Scotland, London Tourist Board
  • Tourist Information Centres
  • Inbound and domestic tour operators

The travel industry is notorious for consolidation. In 2007 there were ‘the big 4’ travel companies: Thomas Cook, My Travel, First Choice and Thompson. Now there are ‘the big 2’ Thomas Cook and Thompson TUI. Both are German owned but their management structure is based within the UK. Both companies are listed on the UK stock exchange. The industry also includes a large number of small independent operators. Some of these operators specialise in niche markets whilst others service serve their local market.

The tourism services industry comprises:

  • National and regional tourist organisations
  • Tourist Information Centres (TICs) – TICs may be publicly owned by Local Authorities or privately owned.
  • Tour guiding – Tour guiding includes guides working in visitor attractions, on coach tours and those who operate independent tours.

The industry is also responsible for a large number of tourist guides that can be found at visitor attractions and on coach and independent tours.

Key facts:

  • There are 119,800 people working in the travel and tourist services industry.
  • There are approximately 11,700 travel and tourist services establishments in Great Britain.
  • 75% of travel and tourist services establishments employ between 1-10 people, 24% employ between 11-49 people and 1% employ more than 50 people.
  • 62% of the workforce is female.
  • 90% of the workforce is white and 10% from Black Ethnic Minority groups.
  • 4% of the workforce is aged 16-19 years, 27% 20-29 years, 31% 30-39 years,14% 40-49 years and 24% is 50 years and older.
  • The majority of the workforce has a NVQ Level 4 qualification (35%).
  • 4% of the workforce has no qualifications.
  • The majority of the workforce is female.
  • The majority of the workforce is employed full-time (74%).
  • 38% of all those working in the travel and tourism services industry work in personal service occupations. A quarter of the workforce is managers and 14% work in administrative and secretarial roles.

Source: People 1st LMI Report (March 2010) and Travel and tourist services industry profile 2009