The sector deal for tourism will see the creation of a hospitality and tourism skills board, a commitment to build 130,000 new hotel rooms by 2025, 75% of which would be outside of London, and 10,000 new apprenticeships in the sector per year.
Launched by the Prime Minister today, the deal is an agreement by the government to prioritise and support the sector as a driver of economic growth and job creation.
The hospitality and tourism skills board will promote hospitality as a career of choice, supporting and funding a three-year industry-led skills and recruitment campaign.
In addition, the deal would see local tourism zones created (which will receive government support for growing their local visitor economy), a new business events strategy and significant investment in infrastructure and connectivity.
The creation of a new tourism data hub will collate regularly updated data showing the latest trends and spends, allowing businesses to better target overseas visitors.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “As one of the most visited countries in the world, the UK is a world leader in international tourism and it is crucial that we remain globally competitive to meet growing demands.
“That’s why today I am pleased to announce the UK’s first ever tourism sector deal, ensuring that we continue to innovate, boost connectivity and economic productivity, expand career pathways and breakdown barriers for visitors with disabilities.
“This deal recognises the important role tourism plays, and will continue to play, in showcasing what our great country has to offer.”
Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said: “The UK is one of the world’s greatest destinations and this deal recognises the importance of maximising our natural assets. We are dedicated to supporting life-long careers for those that work in tourism, offering insightful data to help grow businesses and ultimately creating a better visitor experience throughout the UK.”
Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Tourism is one of our most valuable industries and it plays a vital role in our economy, with nearly two million people employed in the communities across the country and £23b spent by visitors in the UK last year.”
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “This sector deal marks a tremendous moment for all of us in the hospitality, tourism and leisure industries. The move will be absolutely critical in changing the perception of the sector within government and the wider public opinion, and acknowledges that hospitality is key to the country’s economic growth.”
British Tourist Authority chair Steve Ridgway said: “This sector deal is a game-changer for tourism, one of the UK’s most valuable export industries, spelling a step-change in how we underpin the success of tourism for a generation, moving it to the top table as a leading industry for the UK government’s future economic planning.”
Nick Varney, UKHospitality chairman and chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, said: “I hope this agreement will act as a catalyst for greater cooperation and connectivity between our industry, government and other stakeholder groups in supporting tourism and hospitality as the choice for investment and the place for an exciting and rewarding career.”
Co-chair of the Tourism Industry Council, Simon Vincent, who is executive vice-president and president, EMEA, of Hilton, added: “The tourism sector deal is an important vote of confidence in the UK tourism industry, providing a long-term vision which reflects the skills and innovation in our sector and will help ensure we continue to thrive in a highly competitive global market.”