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BHA: Support the hospitality sector

26 | 06 | 13

The government needs to recognise the growth opportunities that exist in the UK's hospitality industry. 

This is according to the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and the body thinks those in power should consider how hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions can provide a boost to the economy. 

Despite the fact the sector supports ten per cent of the country's workforce, the BHA feels it is overlooked when it comes to capital investment programmes, a situation it feels has to end. 

Time for action

The BHA has outlined four issues it feels need to be addressed if the hospitality and tourism industry is going to be successful. These are:

-The creation of a structural organisation in government to create a cross-ministerial task force responsible for creating a growth strategy for the hospitality and tourism industry 
-A change in the UK visa application procedure to make it easier to attract inbound tourists - current perceptions are that airport taxes are exorbitant 
-Decisive action is required over the issue of airport capacity
-Cut VAT on tourism to five per cent - this will boost visitor numbers and ensure the UK isn't priced out of the market 

By acting on these four issues, the body is confident the sector will grow. This will also have a knock-on benefit for catering firms, as there is sure to be an increase in the number of bars and restaurants looking for kitchen equipment if the sector grows as a whole. 

Recognising the size of the sector

Simon Vincent, president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Hilton Worldwide, noted how the hospitality sector is worth over £100 billion a year to the UK, making it the fifth largest industry in the country. 

"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," he added.

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, said a "steady as she goes" approach is not going to work any longer. Instead, she thinks the government and hospitality sector should work together in order to develop a "more ambitious strategy".

Ms Ibrahim is also calling on the Conservative-Liberal Democrat alliance to think globally when it comes to identifying competitors, as it has to take this level of competition very seriously. 

Supporting job growth 

The catering industry has already demonstrated its dedication to growth and job creation through its support for the apprenticeship scheme. The Catering Equipment Suppliers Association, the Catering Equipment Distributors Association and the Foodservice Consultants Society International has committed to 75 apprenticeships positions among its small and medium-sized members.

Seen as a dynamic industry, part of the allure of the catering sector is that people realise there are long-term job prospects in it. However, it is also hoped the scheme will boost productivity by helping businesses to grow their skills base.ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801603878-ADNFCR

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