HOSPITALITY AND tourism now accounts for over 10% of the UK’s workforce and is the fourth largest employing industry in the UK, according to new research published today.
The research from the British Hospitality Association (BHA), shows how the industry is fuelling jobs growth in Britain, has moved up to fifth place overall in the World Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Rankings and is growing faster than the rest of the economy.
However, as a holiday destination, Britain is perceived as too expensive for many international travellers and businesses looking to travel to the UK – it is at the very bottom of the price competitiveness ranking at 138 out of 140 countries.
The findings are in a new BHA report: “The Agenda for 300,000 New Jobs”. Using exclusive data the BHA found that the tourism and hospitality industry generated over a quarter of all new jobs created since 2010 (153,000 jobs) and is “uniquely placed” to generate new jobs for the 18-24 age group.
Next week is National Apprenticeship Week and senior figures in the sector have urged the government to treat the tourism and hospitality sector as “a serious business sector”, not least because 300,000 new jobs could be created by 2020.
Grant Hearn, Travelodge CEO said: “We have been campaigning for sometime now for Government to treat our industry as a serious business sector. As the UK’s fourth largest employing industry, we have the power to create real career opportunities across the country. However we cannot unleash the true potential of our industry until the Government moves tourism higher up its agenda and aligns all of its departments to work together with one cohesive tourism strategy.”
BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said the government had a clear choice: “Either we are content with a ‘steady as she goes’ approach or we jointly pilot a path for a more ambitious strategy. Growth will be hard to maintain because of international competition and the weak economy. If we do something about this now then the prize is considerable.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the sector had “stood firm” through tough economic times, creating thousands of new jobs and bringing vital tourism to the UK. “Jobs and growth are my number one priority, and I thoroughly welcome the ambition shown by the BHA to create nearly 300,000 jobs in the hospitality sector by 2020,” he added.