When an industry sector comprises some 150,000 businesses, employs almost two million people and accounts for nearly 5% of the UK's economic output, it deserves to walk with a swagger in its step.
But that's easier said than done when recessionary pressures are ratcheting up and every penny of revenue is hard to come by.
The hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism industry has weathered a heavy storm over the past two years, but there are signs that the clouds above are beginning to disperse.
Since People 1st published its inaugural annual labour market review last year the UK has officially emerged from recession. We remain several blocks away from Easy Street. Still, operators with sense will already be preparing for future growth.
People 1st's http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/2010/05/28/333656/people-1st-report-highlights-ongoing-skills-shortfall.htm" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">2010 State of the Nation Report is big on numbers, many of them less positive than we would like.
Total employment across the sector fell by 5% between 2009 and 2010. More employers say they employ people lacking the required skills than did so in 2008. And 65% of businesses who report skills gaps in their labour force say their employees lack the requisite customer-service skills - up substantially from 2007.
Yet there is cause for optimism: more sector employers are providing staff training than ever; they spend £2,575 per employee on training a year, compared with a pan-industry average of £1,725; and qualification levels of the workforce irrefutably continue to rise.
This valuable report offers further good news in the fact that the number of people undertaking industry-related apprenticeships has risen over the past three years to an encouraging 28,000.
Apprenticeships, along with 14-19 Diplomas in Hospitality and Travel and Tourism, offer clear evidence that operators are prepared to play a part in putting the swagger back in the stride of our great industry.
Mark Lewis, Editor, Caterer and Hotelkeeper