Government ‘not listening’ on hospitality
19 June, 2012
The UK needs fresh thinking on hospitality and tourism strategies—and the government should start listening to what businesses want.
Those are among the arguments of the British Hospitality Association following the Hospitality and Tourism Summit, held in London earlier this month.
BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim, pictured, said: “If there was one message that came out of [the summit] it was that there is overarching concern that the present government is not listening to the country’s wealth creators. The BHA must now focus on ensuring that a new strategy is developed so that the industry’s growth potential—in jobs and investment—is fully realized and is not held back by barriers that could be removed and which would hugely advantage not only the industry but the UK economy overall.”
Ibrahim said the BHA would coordinate pressure on the government to deliver business-friendly policies. “At present there is a lot of government talk about supporting the industry, but very little action. We must quickly gather together all the industry’s forces to ensure that there is a real change in government attitudes and policies, so that action follows.”
The summit drew around 500 delegates and heard that the UK was facing ever tougher competition for tourism and hospitality. “The UK cannot compete without greater government understanding of the competitive barriers that are holding back growth. More importantly, these barriers must be broken down,” said Ibrahim.
The BHA wants specific measures including a cut in VAT and an easing of laws on visas and other regulations. It argues that countries like the US and China are achieving rapid tourism growth by dismantling barriers to the industry, and that the UK risks falling behind if it doesn’t update its practices soon.