BHA and ALMR propose merger to create 'single strong voice' for hospitality

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

BHA and ALMR propose merger to create 'single strong voice' for hospitality

Related tags: Bha chairman nick, Bha chief executive

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) and Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) are proposing a merger to create a new body, UKHospitality.

The groups said the organisation would give a 'single strong voice' to the industry, representing over 65,000 sites and 2m workers in businesses ranging from FTSE 100 companies to independent restaurants.

UKHospitality will be led by current ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls, with BHA chairman Nick Varney – who is also CEO of Merlin Entertainments – taking the same role in the new body.

Separate policy groups will also cover different areas of the industry within the organisation.

It is not clear if current BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim will remain involved in the body.

The proposals have been recommended to both ALMR and BHA members, and an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) will be held in February to approve them.

“This sector is a vital, dynamic economic powerhouse whose importance is clear in our communities, our high streets and our everyday lives,” said Nicholls.

“Faced with unprecedented political and regulatory pressures, now more than ever it requires the strongest and most effective voice within government. UKHospitality will be that vital voice and I am relishing the prospect of working with members to deliver both strong and connected relationships with government and a shared ambition to reshape the future of hospitality”.

Joint research from the two groups predicts that the UK hospitality industry will grow 4.3% by 2020, generating an additional 19,000 jobs.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), which represents around 20,000 UK pubs, said it was looking forward to 'working closely' with the new association on 'shared concerns'.

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