The report, entitled Hospitality: Driving Local Economies, aims to highlight the critical role that hospitality plays in the economic and social life of local communities. It found that the sector directly employs 2.4 million people and a further 1.2 million indirectly, contributing over £46bn in wages and profits to local economies every year.
And this is just the beginning, according to BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim, who said: “We believe that the industry can create a further 236,000 jobs by 2015 and a total of 475,000 by 2020, providing we have the right level of government support in place.”
Coinciding with the report's release, the BHA have launched the Adopt an MP programme, aimed at winning the support of every MP and every local councillor for the hospitality economy.
It is urging its members to contact their local MP and local councillors to make them personally aware of the BHA's campaign to create 236,000 new hospitality jobs by 2015. This all comes at a time when decisions likely to affect the economy are being pushed down to local and even parish authorities as a result of the Government's localism agenda.
“The challenge now is to make sure that the Government provides the right framework in which the industry can grow and create more jobs, “added Ibrahim. “We want all politicians to recognise and support the industry as it continues to create jobs, deliver growth and helps to re-balance the UK economy.”
Barriers to growth
Despite these positive findings, the report went on to state that the UK's high rate of VAT is one of several barriers to the growth of the hospitality industry. It pointed to an independent report by Bourne Leisure and Merlin Entertainments, which calculated that a reduction of VAT on accommodation and attractions to five per cent would in effect yield a net benefit to the Treasury.
Among other obstacles identified by the BHA were visa costs and controls, Air Passenger Duty and the regulatory burden. It was a combination of these factors that had pushed Britain to 135th place out of 139 in the World Economic Forum's latest Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index.
“We are urging our members – indeed all businesses – to ensure that their MP and their local councilors fully understand the contribution that hospitality already plays – and can play in the future – in the economic success of their locality and of the nation,” added Ibrahim.
BigHospitality’s sister publication, the Publican's Morning Advertiser, is running a petition to reduce VAT to five per cent. To sign up, please click here.