The report, entitled The Agenda for 300,000 New Jobs, comes just days after a number of businesses made a job-creation pledge at the BHA’s Big Hospitality Conversation, and is a continuation from the organisation’s efforts to create 200,000 of those new jobs by 2015.
Lib Dem leader Clegg said: “The British service sector is world-beating and one of many jewels in our crown. Millions of guests were welcomed to London 2012 and received the gold standard in hospitality.
“Through tough economic times, the industry has stood firm, 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.”
According to the report, hospitality and tourism now accounts for over 10 per cent of the UK’s workforce and is the fourth largest employing industry in the UK - its growth significantly outpacing the rest of the economy. The industry generated over one quarter of all new jobs created since 2010 (153,000 jobs).
Research within the report also shows that the hospitality industry has moved up to fifth place in the World Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Rankings, but that it is at the bottom of this league table in terms of price competitiveness.
The BHA’s chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said: “We present a clear choice for the Government and the hospitality industry. 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 – 300,000 new jobs in Britain.”
The report has been welcomed by a number of major hospitality institutions across the UK. Simon Vincent, president of the EMEA region for Hilton Worldwide, said: “The hospitality industry is the UK’s fifth largest sector, worth well in excess of £100bn a year, and as such it needs to be viewed by the Government as an export industry.
'Cohesive tourism strategy'
“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. With over 100 hotels in the UK and 23 in the pipeline, Hilton Worldwide looks forward to working with Government to drive forward the necessary reforms to ensure the industry realises its potential.”
Travelodge’s chief executive Grant Hearn added: “We have been campaigning for some time now, for the 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.
“We have a real opportunity within our grasp, to create new jobs, upskill Britain, grow our industry and help our economy to recover. This is something very few industries can say at present - therefore I would urge the Government to take immediate action and seize this golden opportunity that is being presented to them.”