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BHA challenges coalition to take tourism seriously

03 June 2010
BHA challenges coalition to take tourism seriously

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has challenged the coalition Government to deliver on its commitments to tourism.

Both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats had promised to take a more active approach in supporting tourism in their pre-election pledges. The BHA is now pushing for those pledges to be translated into action, having been disappointed by a lack of focus on tourism from the Labour party.

"Both Conservative and Liberal Democrat pledges to reverse this approach were widely welcomed but pledges are one thing, action is another," said BHA chief executive Bob Cotton.

"We look forward to evidence of a greater government belief in the value of tourism to the UK economy, with measures that will enable it to fulfil its potential as one of the country's principal economic drivers."

In his last annual report before retiring from the BHA, Cotton said that in the past year little had been done by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to address the burden of regulation or take on spiralling industry costs. He added that there had been no clear plan to encourage investment and promote tourism.

He said: "What has the department done to help deliver these four commitments? Very little. The onward advance of red tape continued."

Cotton also said the industry had survived better than might have been expected at the beginning of 2009.

"Business did not, in the end, contract as much as had been feared, though the recovery is stilted and many member companies have faced an unprecedented squeeze on credit and on profits," he explained.

In the report Cotton welcomes his successor, Ufi Ibrahim, currently chief operating officer, World Travel and Tourism Council, who joins the association on July 19th.

Will the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition be good news for hospitality? >>

Cotton tells Vantis seminar that 2010 will be tougher than 2009 >>

Seaside MP John Penrose appointed tourism minister at the DCMS >>

By James Stagg

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