Falling pound could boost UK hospitality industry
The UK’s hospitality industry is focussing on building Brand Britain as the falling the value of sterling could boost overseas visitors.
The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has released interviews with thought-leaders in the aftermath of Brexit as part of an extensive communications campaign seeking to place hospitality and tourism at the top of the government’s agenda.
It has also introduced ‘Welcoming the World’, a news and current affairs-style programme produced in partnership with ITN Productions and anchored by national newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky, featuring interviews with thought-leaders who shared their reactions and predictions following the UK’s recent vote to leave the EU.
Speaking at the Hospitality and Tourism Summit, former Foreign Secretary William Hague, said: “We have strong values in the UK of fairness, of help, of regard for others – we are a welcoming country. It’s very important we retain all of those values … my advice would be [to] keep focus on those things that have made this industry in Britain so successful. And all of us have to make sure that the world can see that the values of Britain haven’t changed even if our membership of one major organisation has changed.”
Dr Andrew Sentance, Senior Economic Advisor at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also shared his views on the EU referendum result. He said: “It will probably negatively impact growth in the next second half of this year and possibly into next year … but there are some offsets, and one of the offsets is the decline in value of the pound which makes the UK more competitive for travel for overseas, so it’s a swings and roundabout effect but I think people will see some of the impact of the uncertainty.”
In keeping with the goals and values of the BHA, the programme not only champions the UK hospitality and tourism industry but also seeks to bolster its close ties with government to ensure that Britain remains competitive as a tourist destination, renowned for the high standards of its hospitality.
In his interview, Nick Varney, chairman of the BHA and CEO of Merlin Entertainments, emphasised the need for the BHA to stand together and project the voice of the industry particularly in the absence of a UK Tourism minister to represent a sector employing 4.5 million people.
Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, said: “The hospitality and tourism industry is a lynchpin of the UK economy, our fourth largest industry, employing 4.49 million people.
“The BHA champions 44,000 businesses across the UK and we work with the government in order to ensure the achievement of three goals – competitive advantage for our country, sustainable growth of our industry and valuable careers for our people.
“We applaud BHA members for their achievements over the last few years, and it is our ambition to ensure the future success of UK hospitality and tourism. We look forward to launching this inspiring news programme with ITN Productions which will showcase our work and inspire future generations.”
Simon Shelley, head of Industry News, ITN Productions, said: “We were delighted to work with the British Hospitality Association for the third year running and 2016 has certainly brought a lot of political and economic uncertainties as well as questions and challenges. We hope that this news-style programme will come to support the BHA’s mission of supporting the industry and shaping a brighter future.”
‘Welcoming the World’ can be watched in full on the BHA website here. The programme features a series of news-style reports, and sponsored editorial profiles from leading organisations in the sector which explore the broad range of opportunities and challenges brought by regulations, training and new technologies which need to be addressed in order to sustain sector’s growth and competitiveness.