First Westminster Hospitality & Tourism Day

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    33 MPs from across the UK took part in a day in Parliament today, Wednesday 16th September, highlighting the importance of the hospitality and tourism industry to the British economy.

    The event – which brought together politicians, policy-makers and businesses – was organised to celebrate the contribution the sector makes to Britain’s economic wellbeing. Industry leaders asked the government for policy reforms to help make it more competitive with rival tourist destinations, particularly in Europe.

    According to an independent Oxford Economics study commissioned by the British Hospitality Association and launched today, Hospitality is Britain’s fourth largest industry, supporting 14 per cent of total employment and delivering £143bn a year to Britain’s economy. It has also created one in five of all new jobs since 2010.

    However VAT is still levied at 20% – almost twice the European average.

    No fewer than 25 out of 27 EU countries have reduced rates for hospitality. Industry leaders are campaigning for a lower rate of 5% on hospitality in the UK.

    The British Hospitality Association (BHA) – which organised the Westminster Hospitality and Tourism Day – also called on the Government to speed up and simplify the VISA application process to encourage more visitors from growth markets such as China.

    They also want to ban ‘Rate Parity’ clauses – which mean online travel agents receive the same rate as guests who book rooms with the hotel itself. They argue that rate parity limits savings that hotels can pass on to guests who decide to book directly.

    Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association told MPs that: “Hospitality is a wealth generator across the country, not just London and the South East, and we can contribute a lot more to this country in new well-paid jobs, exports and increased tax revenue.

    “But we need government support to fully unleash our industry’s potential; on tourism VAT, on visas, deregulation, aviation capacity and on creating a fair digital marketplace by banning so-called ‘Rate-Parity’ agreements.”

    The day included a Parliamentary reception hosted by Brighton Pavilion MP, Caroline Lucas and Nick Varney, chairman of the BHA and CEO of Merlin Entertainments PLC and a series of meetings between MPs and hospitality business owners and managers.

    The day also included a briefing session on the latest BHA-commissioned research by Oxford Economics into the economic contribution of the British Hospitality Industry. The Report finds that:
    • Hospitality is 4th largest industry, delivering £143bn per annum – that’s 10% of gross value added to GDP
    • Hospitality and tourism created 1 in 5 new jobs since 2010 (Hospitality alone has delivered 331,000 new jobs between 2010 and 2015 – accounts for 17% of all new jobs created in the UK
    • And we are well on track to achieving our 2013 agenda to create 300,000 new jobs by 2020
    • Hospitality & Tourism employs 4.49 million people (10% of the whole working population).1 in 10 people work in the hospitality and tourism industry
    • For every 10 direct jobs, the industry creates another 6 in the wider economy
    • 34 per cent of the workforce are under 25 years of age
    • There are 475,000 unemployed 16 – 24 year olds in Britain = nearly 14 per cent of young people under 24 are unemployed
    • This industry will deliver 60,000 apprenticeships, work experiences, and career opportunities for Britain’s young people by the end of 2016 via the Big Hospitality Conversation
    • UK is the 8th largest international tourism destination by visitor numbers – behind France, the USA, Spain, China, Italy, Turkey and Germany (we’ve slipped down the rankings since 2012)

    Daniel Fountain / 16.09.2015

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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