With an election year on the horizon, the British Hospitality Association (BHA) is calling on all political parties to consider a ‘wish list' of initiatives to support the hospitality industry when drawing up their manifestos.
Ufi Ibrahim (pictured), chief executive of the BHA, said it was essential that the economic and social importance of the hospitality and tourism sector was understood by all political parties.
"The tourism and hospitality industry has huge amounts of potential, already employing one in 10 of the UK workforce, and it has been predicted that the sector will grow at an annual rate of almost 4% over the next 10 years, significantly faster than forecasts for the UK economy as a whole and much faster than sectors such as manufacturing, construction and retail," she explained.
As a result, the BHA has drawn up the following list of changes it would like to see a new government introduce to help boost hospitality and tourism in 2015:
Development of a robust skills agenda to ensure the industry is able to attract the right people to achieve its growth potential.
An enlightened employment legislation that does not jeopardise industry growth or jobs.
Price competitiveness: "UK VAT at 20% means we are not operating on a level playing field with the rest of the world," said Ibrahim.
Continued improvements to visa policies to ensure the UK gains a fair share of business and holiday visitors from new markets like China and Russia.
A more efficient planning process, which encourages rather than restricts further tourism and hospitality development at a local level.
Investment in the best strategies and structures to promote the UK's cultural and heritage assets, particularly in rural and coastal regions.
A challenge to the sharing economy to uphold the safety, quality and reputation standards of the industry.
Continued support to BHA members in implementing new food and safety regulations.