Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the BHA, said it was a ‘small triumph’ for the 3m hospitality workers in the UK and called for all political parties to work with the BHA to ‘unlock our industry’s significant potential to create more careers, apprenticeships, jobs, exports, growth and prosperity’.
The Conservative Party manifesto references ‘the value of the tourism industry to the UK economy’ and promises to speed up the visa process for tourists, invest in transport infrastructure as well promising to recruit more apprentices to the sector.
Both The Green Party and Plaid Cymru manifestos support the BHA’s campaign to cut Tourism VAT from 20 to five per cent. The Cut Tourism VAT campaign recently criticised Chancellor George Osborne for failing to mention the reduction in the 2015 budget, despite backing from 118 MP’s and the BHA.
The Liberal Democrat's have committed to strengthening the Hospitality and Tourism Council, appointing the Business and Culture Secretaries as co-chairs. The manifesto also pledges to give higher status to tourism within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and to empower local Tourism authorities’ decision-making powers to promote tourism propositions.
UKIP have called for the creation of a dedicated Minister of State for Heritage and Tourism to be attached to the Cabinet Office.
The Labour party have promised to promote access to green spaces in local planning, making them an important part of ‘our thriving tourism industry’. Though the BHA was disappointed by what it called an otherwise ‘glaring absence’ of the industry in the manifesto, it welcomed the commitment to making a swift decision on the Davies Commission review to expand aviation capacity in the UK.
Ibrahim said: “For the first time ever, tourism and hospitality has been recognised as a key contributor to jobs and the economy across the manifestos of several key parties.
“We have a clear message for our next Prime Minister – there is an urgency to ensure the continuation and strengthening of the Tourism Industry Council after its first year. It is imperative that we expand its influence by having the Prime Minister as its leader."
Perceptions Group and the BHA have previously called on political parties to promote the hospitality industry as a means of tackling youth unemployment, with an estimated 848,000 jobs needing to be filled over the next ten years.
As well as policies directly addressing tourism, political plans for minimum wage, apprenticeships and zero-hour contracts are all set to effect the hospitality industry.