BHA challenges government to get serious on hospitality
On the eve of the British Hospitality and Tourism Summit, the hospitality industry which employs 10% of the UK workforce, is calling on the government to take more seriously the growth opportunities that can be provided by hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions.
Less than a year after the greatest global advertising campaign for the UK, the Olympic Legacy is in danger of being forgotten according to the BHA. The BHA believes that the government must act, rather than just talk about four key issues on which the success of the hospitality and tourism industry depends:
- Structural organisation at the highest level of government to create a cross-ministerial task force to shape the growth strategy for the hospitality and tourism industry and then oversee its delivery across all government departments.
- Make a step change to improve the UK visa application procedure and the current perceptions of inbound visitors on the exorbitant cost airport taxes and the complexity of getting a UK visa.
- Take decisive action on increasing airport capacity.
- Cut VAT on tourism to 5% so UK visitor accommodation and attractions aren?t further priced out of the market by European competitors.
The hospitality and tourism industry is ideally placed to create employment in every corner of the UK and also to tackle youth unemployment. At the British Hospitality and Tourism Summit, the BHA will announce that the UK?s hospitality and tourism industries have been able to create over 30,000 new job opportunities for young people which will become available by 2015.
Ufi Ibrahim ? Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association said:
?We present a clear choice for the Government and the hospitality industry. Either we are content with a ?steady as she goes? approach or we jointly pilot a path for a more ambitious strategy. Growth is getting harder to maintain because of international competition and the weak economy.
?Hospitality and tourism?is a great British success story demonstrating huge economic potential for export and staycations. Feasts and festivals, hiking and heritage, picnics and parties, rollercoasters and rock music ? hospitality and tourism businesses deliver all of these enjoyable activities. But these have a serious side and that is generating growth and jobs for the UK. The government must aim to take global competition seriously and act like a major competitor in the global hospitality and tourism marketplace.?
Grant Hearn, Travelodge Chief Executive said: ?The BHA is demonstrating real leadership in bringing the tourism industry together and providing an agenda for growth. However, without proper Government support, it is difficult to know what else the industry can do. Despite operating in a demanding environment, tourism continues to be one of Britain?s most successful industries, generating over one quarter (27%) of all new jobs created since 2010.
We cannot unleash the true potential of the industry until the Government prioritises tourism, and takes steps to remove some of the issues and barriers that prevent growth. I urge the Government to take immediate action and to start treating the industry as the fourth largest in the country and the key provider of new jobs.
Simon Vincent, president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Hilton Worldwide said:? ?The hospitality industry is the UK?s fifth largest sector, worth well in excess of ?100bn a year, and as such it needs to be viewed by the Government as an export industry. Government and industry working together is essential to increasing our global competitiveness in areas such as visa reform, infrastructure development and investment in young people to ensure the UK remains best in class. With over 100 hotels in the UK and 23 in the pipeline, Hilton Worldwide looks forward to working with Government to drive forward the necessary reforms to ensure the industry realises its potential.?