UK businesses exported £300m worth of holiday goods in 2016

Exporting enterprises are being urged to consider the "global opportunities" that will be presented once Britain officially leaves the EU in 2019

As millions of Brits jet off into the sunset on their summer holidays, new government statistics have revealed that UK businesses exported £302m worth of ‘holiday goods’ in 2016.

Latest HMRC statistics show that sunglasses, swimwear and ice-cream were most popular among foreign buyers – with £160m, £93m and £16m being sold of each respectively.

UK flip flops also proved a firm favourite, with £8m worth exported around the globe – while other ‘holiday goods’ included playing cards, inflatable balls and travel sets.

With the UK set to leave the European Union in 2019, UK businesses can take comfort in the fact the European Commission states that 90% of global growth in the next 20 years will be outside the EU – with South Korea, Australia, UAE, Hong Kong and the US already some of the biggest markets for ‘holiday goods’.

When broken down by products, sunglasses remain one of the top holiday exports, with £3.8m worth sold to Hong Kong, while £4.6m worth of UK swimwear is sold to the USA – with over £1.4m worth of flip-flops sold to non-EU countries.

Card games are another must-have holiday item with £3.7m of UK playing cards exported to non-EU countries last year, with £2.1m heading to Australia alone – while £1.3m worth of British ice-cream kept non-EU consumers cool.

Overall the latest trade statistics show that UK exports of goods and services have increased – with exports standing at £547.6bn, up 5.8% on 2015.

The UK also attracted more foreign direct investment projects than ever before (year 2016 to 2017). With more than 2,200 projects recorded, the post-referendum figures show an increase of 2% the previous year.

Dr Liam Fox, international trade secretary, said:

“From ice-cream to swimwear, you can find UK holiday exports in travel destinations around the world.

“Last year alone, more than £300m worth of these goods have been sold to shoppers across the globe showing increasing demand for home-grown summer essentials.

“As an international economic department, we are supporting British business to take advantage of the growing global markets after we leave the EU and design a trade relationship in Britain’s national interest.

“There has never been a better time for our dynamic and innovative businesses to export their goods and services abroad.”

Read our guides on exporting here.

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