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.
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.”
Questions whether government understands the hospitality and foodservice sector were raised at a Footprint Health & Vitality Summit, attended by industry leaders driving the health agenda. Delegates debated whether policy makers and regulators understand the machinations of the foodservice industry and its fragmented supply chain.
The results of a Footprint Poll asking the same question of the wider foodservice community found that 67% of respondents thought that policy makers and regulators do not understand the machinations of the foodservice industry with its fragmented supply chain, but 33% did.