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Over five million visitors via Gatwick spent £4.7 billion in the UK



Five and a half million foreign visitors arrived in the UK via Gatwick in 2017 – spending 40.3 million nights in the country, contributing £4.7 billion to GDP and supporting 93,000 jobs – according to a new Oxford Economics report on the airport’s impact on the ‘Visitor Economy’ published today.

In addition, £1.2 billion was added to the UK Exchequer – enough to cover the salaries of 46,000 nurses or 36,000 teachers – through taxes on transactions, wages and profits generated by businesses serving these overseas visitors.

The report, commissioned by the Gatwick Growth Board, also shows that the UK economy receives a £200 million GDP, 4000 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, Tianjin 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 more.

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.

The report’s special analysis shows that just over half (56%) of foreign visitors’ overnight stays were in London, a quarter (24%) were across the South East region, with the rest spread around the rest of the UK – boosting spending through airfares, taxis, rail tickets, hotel stays, restaurant meals, retail purchase and visits to leisure and cultural attractions.

Overseas visitors however are only part of Gatwick’s visitor economy as 1.6 million visitors arrived from other parts of UK last year – spending 5.2 million nights – and contributed £588 million to GDP and 12,700 jobs.  These visitors were principally from Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Other findings:

  • More than four fifths of visitors were from Europe – with Spain, Italy and France the top three origin countries – followed by USA
  • Around a fifth of visitors from Germany, Denmark, Holland and Ireland came on business
  • Visitors from Africa (15 nights), Australia (13), Asia (13) and Canada (12) stayed the longest (on average)

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.”  

Steve Ridgway, Chair of VisitBritain, said:

“Gatwick is an important gateway to the UK and plays a vital role in the country’s thriving visitor economy. Inbound tourism will continue to be a vital component of the UK economy after we’ve left the European Union and VisitBritain welcomes the Gatwick Growth Board’s efforts to secure and grow the airport’s future contribution.“

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Former Horsham Council CEO appointed as Chair for GATCOM

New Chair brings substantial experience of chairing committees and similar bodies locally and across the South East.



New Chair of GATCOM, Tom Crowley.

Tom Crowley – the former Chief Executive of Horsham District Council – has been appointed as the new Chair of Gatwick Airport’s Consultative Committee (GATCOM) – the statutory, independent advisory body and ‘critical friend’ of the airport, it was announced today.

Tom will take up his new role in January 2019 – for a minimum of period of four years – and brings with him substantial experience chairing committees and similar bodies locally and across the South East region. He is also currently Chair of Empty Homes – a national research and campaigning charity – and a Governor of the Chichester College Group.

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Before his appointment as Horsham’s Chief Executive in 2005, Tom held senior management roles at Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and Arun District Council.

In its 62 year history, the 28-strong committee has maintained an independent and unbiased approach in its overarching objective, which is to ensure the future success of Gatwick Airport, while paying particular regard to the impact it has on the surrounding communities and the environment.

The outgoing Chair – Dr John Godfrey – will leave his role in December 2018 after announcing his retirement after eleven years in post. His achievements during this period have been described by Stewart Wingate – Gatwick’s CEO – as ‘considerable’ and include leading the committee through the sale of the airport by BAA to Global Infrastructure Partners in 2009.

John also steered GATCOM through major challenges such as the public consultations on a second runway and the airport’s master plan, through the use of and changes to flight paths, the establishment of the Gatwick Noise Management Board and helped to generate support to secure enhanced rail services to the airport.

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick CEO, said:

“I congratulate and look forward to working closely with Tom in his new role as Chair. This post is fundamental to the strength of GATCOM and the committee plays a key role advising me and my senior team about issues of concern to our local communities or that impact the local environment.

“I would also like to express my personal gratitude to Dr John Godfrey for dedicating over a decade to the role. I very much value his contribution to GATCOM and his achievements during his tenure have been considerable and have helped shape the direction the airport.”

Dr John Godfrey, outgoing GATCOM Chair, said:

“I join Stewart in congratulating Tom on his appointment and wish him well in his new role. GATCOM acts as a bridge between the airport management and all the various agencies and interests which make up the wider community which the airport serves. Tom’s background and experience equip him to make a major contribution to the important work of the UK’s leading airport consultative committee.”

Tom Crowley, incoming GATCOM Chair, said:

“I am delighted to have been selected for this important position. Having lived and worked locally for almost forty years I am acutely aware of the economic benefits that Gatwick brings but I also appreciate that the airport’s development and operation generates significant environmental impacts.

“GATCOM plays a vital role in representing the interests of those who benefit from and are affected by the airport and it provides an effective forum to promote constructive dialogue with Gatwick’s senior managers.”

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