The United Kingdom is the sixth largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and the sixth largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). It is the third largest economy in Europe after Germany's and France's in nominal terms and the second largest after Germany's in terms of purchasing power parity.
Mining The UK has a small coal reserve along with significant, yet continuously declining natural gas and oil reserves. Coal mining was a significant part of the UK economy. In 2004, total UK coal consumption (including imports) was 61 million tonnes. An alternative to coal-fired electricity generation is underground coal gasification (UCG). UCG involves injecting steam and oxygen down a borehole, which extracts gas from the coal and draws the mixture to the surfacea potentially very low carbon method of exploiting coal.
Tourism Tourism is very important to the British economy. With over 27 million tourists arriving in 2004, the United Kingdom is ranked as the sixth major tourist destination in the world. London, by a considerable margin, is the most visited city in the world with 15.6 million visitors in 2006, ahead of 2nd placed Bangkok (10.4 million visitors) and 3rd placed Paris (9.7 million).
Communications The Post Office, founded in 1635, maintains about 20,000 branch offices throughout Great Britain and administers a postal savings system. The postal system was revised and penny postage established in the 1830s. In 1969 the post office was reorganized as a public corporation. A parcel post system has largely supplanted privately run express companies in the carrying of light parcels. Telecommunications are administered by British Telecom (known as BT since 1991), founded as a state corporation but privatized in the 1980s.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), both public bodies, are licensed to provide television and radio broadcasting services. The BBC operated 2 television channels as well as 5 national networks and 33 local radio stations. It is financed mainly through the sale of annual licenses for television receivers. The BBC also provides foreign radio broadcasts in many languages. The IBA, which oversees the operation of independent television and radio, was created by Parliament in 1954 (until 1972 it was known as the Independent Television Authority).
Service industries The service sector is the dominant sector of the UK economy, a feature normally associated with the economy of a developed country, and makes up about 73% of GDP. This means that the Tertiary sector jobs outnumber the Secondary and Primary sector jobs. The service sector is dominated by financial services, especially in banking and insurance.
London is a major centre for international business and commerce and is the leader of the three "command centres" for the global economy (along with New York City and Tokyo). It is also a major legal centre, with four of the six largest law firms in the world headquartered there. Many multinational companies that are not primarily UK-based have chosen to site their European or rest-of-world headquarters in London: an example is the US financial services firm Citigroup. The creative industries accounted for 7% GVA in 2005 and grew at an average of 6% per annum between 1997 and 2005.