The Bills laid out in Parliament yesterday (18 May) by Her Majesty, The Queen set out the Government’s legislative programme for the next year and will have implications for the hospitality and tourism industry.
Ms Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the BHA responded:
“There are three issues which most matter to this industry:
“The Digital Economy Bill seeks to provide universal right to high speed broadband connection.
“This is particularly important for rural and coastal businesses currently struggling with poor internet connections and speeds. The BHA fully supports the emphasis on making broadband a utility service which is essential to modern hospitality and tourism operations, as well as generating positive guest experiences. We look forward to supporting concrete plans to achieve full coverage.
“BHA will be scrutinising the Government’s forthcoming Digital Strategy in terms of how it will ensure a Fair Digital Marketplace for consumers booking travel online. The Government must not miss this opportunity to take action on restrictive rate parity clauses imposed by online travel agency agreements (OTAs), as well as ensuring ‘sharing economy’ accommodation providers comply with existing regulations including fire and food safety for guests.
“The Local Growth and Jobs Bill signals the opportunity for councils to use business rates revenues to support tourism development and promotion.
“BHA believes this is an essential requirement since the demise of regional development agencies. Local Hospitality and tourism business leaders want to play an active part in Local Enterprise Partnerships to ensure that revenues are channelled in the most effective way to deliver local jobs and economic growth underpinned by the tourist industry and we will be exploring ways in which this can more easily occur.
“Proposed Sugar Tax on soft drinks
“The BHA will carefully review the forthcoming Government consultation and legislation concerning the proposals for a sugar levy on soft drinks. Ensuring good nutrition and tackling obesity requires a comprehensive approach, and understanding how a sugar levy could form part of an overall strategy will be a key question for BHA member experts. The BHA’s Nutrition Group will publish an Industry Guide to Nutrition this summer to aid Chefs in their menu and dish designs in order that they can serve healthier food. As well as covering food preparation and cooking techniques, the guide will also look at the marketing and communication of healthier options on the menu.”