The best way to predict the future is to shape it

Ufi Ibrahim Chief Executive of  the British Hospitality Association

Ufi Ibrahim
Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association

Despite the awesome role that the Olympic Games and more recently the Commonwealth Games have played in helping to raise the profile of our industry across the globe, there still remains a common misconception in some circles that hospitality  and tourism jobs somehow hold a lower status than other
industries. More needs to be done to widen the net and also to demonstrate that the industry can and does offer jobs of high quality and high value.

It is no longer enough to expect that young people will naturally gravitate towards our industry. We need to invest time and energy into finding appealing and relevant ways to attract new talent, showing them that careers in this sector can be rewarding and meaningful. We have to find ways to demonstrate career paths which develop these stars of the future.

At the British Hospitality Association, we have long held the view that the best way to predict the future is to shape it. As an industry we certainly have the talent, capability and incentive to create a strong and vibrant future. The question is how do we achieve it?

Hospitality and tourism has always had one eye on the future and one on the past and we are not afraid to communicate our views and beliefs and lobby  the groups and individuals who need to hear us. As an industry we learn from experience; we champion growth and we embrace change and innovation.  Most importantly we know and understand that the future of our industry depends on attracting, investing in and developing the future generation through job creation.

Our experience with the Olympic Games has taught us that working collaboratively to find solutions is a must. Divide and conquer and find solutions to the issues and challenges which stand in the way of economic growth and job creation.

The newly-established Tourism Council, announced by Tourism Minister Helen Grant at the BHA’s 2014 Hospitality & Tourism Summit is the result of three years of lobbying work by the BHA. The Council has been set up as a partnership between Government and industry that will focus on improving skills, increasing the quality and quantity of jobs available and boosting enterprise in the industry. By establishing the Tourism Council, the Government is affording the hospitality and tourism industry an equivalent voice to other sectors, helping to drive forward the economy.

It is this kind of joined up thinking and action which will help to positively impact across our industry. Underpinning all our work is the need and desire to inspire the next generation and attract talent towards hospitality and tourism careers.

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