Working collectively as an industry can help to deliver more jobs

Ufi Ibrahim Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association

Ufi Ibrahim
Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association

In the period between 2010-2012, the British hospitality industry accounted for 27.7% of total UK net jobs growth.  This, let’s remember, was a period of recession, yet in spite of this, the hospitality and tourism industry employs 10% of the UK workforce, equating to over 2.7 million people.  Indeed, Britain’s fourth largest industry, hospitality delivers £53 billion annually to the economy in Gross Value Added (wages and profits).

The secret of our success? Working collectively as an industry; sharing a voice and working towards a common goal.  By acting as a community, key players in the hospitality and tourism sector are making our voice heard, making an impact in government, to other industry sectors, to families planning their holiday and business people looking for a great restaurant or a simple bite to eat.

The newly-launched Campaign for Tourism is a fine example of our industry working together, and demonstrates the impact of a collective voice.

The aim of the campaign is to ensure MPs in all political parties are aware of the huge importance our industry plays in the economy.

The politically-focused Campaign for Tourism, led by the British Hospitality Association, includes 33 representative bodies from all aspects of the tourism industry including the Tourism Alliance and attractions, historic houses, heritage sites, B&Bs, hotels, restaurants, palaces, language schools and destinations.  To launch the Campaign, letters were distributed far and wide, aiming to trigger debate and set out key areas for policy change.    Already letters of support are being received from key political parties.

As the leading agenda-setter of the hospitality and tourism industry, the BHA acts on behalf of a 40,000 strong community of members and we are firm believers in the power of collective action.

Another example of our powerful and vibrant community in action is The Big Hospitality Conversation, the industry’s biggest job creation drive to offer opportunities to unemployed young people in the UK.  New job pledges are made at regional Big Hospitality Conversation events which take place across the UK.  In the past twelve months over 1,200 industry representatives have attended these events.  With support from large leisure and hospitality organisations as well as independent ones, plus support from the Prince’s Trust Business in the Community, these events provide the opportunity to translate a real economic challenge – youth unemployment – into a business challenge.  In a further collaboration, the BHA has partnered with Barclay’s to support our goal of creating 60,000 new jobs in the sector by 2015.  Together, our organisations will use collective power and flagship employability campaigns to help young people get ready for work and find quality apprenticeships and job opportunities.

These are just a snapshot of some of the work being carried out by the BHA on behalf of our industry, members and those working in the catering community but there is always room for new members and new ideas; room for those who interact with hospitality on a daily basis to collaborate for change.  We must always strive for more.  These examples demonstrate that by working together, by pooling our skills, resources and opportunities and focusing on the next generation, the hospitality and tourism industry can and will ultimately achieve the status and recognition it deserves in the UK from the government and all major political parties but ultimately creating jobs for the next generation and beyond.

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