BHA makes its recommendations and actions to boost hospitality

13/10/2010 - 00:00
In its report Creating Jobs in Britain - a Hospitality Economy Proposition, the BHA says that its aim is to make Britain a world-class destination for tourism and business. It is seeking an enduring commitment from the new coalition government at the highest level.

Government relations On relations with the government, the BHA urges the creation of a cross- cabinet committee for hospitality and tourism to coordinate policy and introduce greater cohesion across government departments, combined with an annual meeting between the prime minister and key cabinet ministers with leading members of the BHA. "Other countries that have pursued successful hospitality and tourism strategies in recent years have strong leadership for the sector from the highest levels of government." Long-term future for tourist boards The BHA urges the government to recognise the UK's national tourist boards as central to the success of the hospitality and tourism industry, giving them security for their long-term future and a greater level of commercial focus. It also wants English tourism to join up - to a greater degree - with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to raise the visibility and reach of Britain as an international tourism destination across the world. Local Enterprise Partnerships It wants Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to embrace hospitality and tourism as a key pillar of their local economies without losing existing regional tourism budgets. VAT The BHA seeks to inaugurate a joint-study with government on the impact of the rate of VAT on hotel accommodation (given that all but four other EU countries have a reduced rate of VAT on hotel accommodation, which makes the UK uncompetitive) and on restaurant meals and visitor attractions. "The clear view is that if Britain is to grow and develop its hospitality and tourism sector, and meet the targets set for it, a continuing VAT rate of 20 per cent will act as a decisive brake on that ambition," says the report Regulations Seeking to minimise the regulatory burden on the sector, the BHA urges government actively to involve the industry in determining the scope, impact and purpose of legislation before enactment, and urges the revival of the defunct cross-Whitehall Tourism Group. Visas It urges government to ease the existing visa application procedure and for their cost to be competitive with other countries The report states that it is easier and less expensive for travellers from China and other major source countries to go to European countries than it is for them to travel to Britain - so many do not come to Britain. REITS Investment in new hotel products and facilities would be stimulated through a change in legislation making it easier for hotels to operate within the framework for Real Estate Investment Trusts. The BHA says it will pursue this with government UK Border Agency The BHA is concerned that UK Border Agency staff do not have 'the visitor experience' as part of their essential skill-set, and cites the fact that the US Immigration Service has engaged Disney's in-house Training and Customer Care function to train its front-line staff. "BHA members are skilled in customer care techniques. We would welcome a partnership with the UK Border Agency to introduce these skill-sets and to aid with training needs," the report says. Job creation It supports the government proposal for a Hospitality Service Academy as a practical and innovative way of tackling long-term unemployment and encouraging greater social mobility. Migration cap The BHA wants plans to be scrapped for the introduction of a permanent cap on migration of TIER 2 workers from outside the European Economic Area. Health and wellbeing The report says that BHA members are contributing positively to government programmes designed to tackle the rise in obesity and the BHA will continue to work toward wellness and health across the UK. Sustainability The BHA says that it is making sustainability one of its key priorities and will encourage all members to make it a central feature of their activity. Outsourcing On tenders for the outsourcing of food service and general facilities management, the report says that commercial operators could bring much greater efficiencies to public ser

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