Hospitality operators have been urged to stress the economic importance of the industry to politicians and parliamentary candidates in the run up to the next general election.
Speaking at the British Hospitality Association annual luncheon in London yesterday to guests including London Mayor Boris Johnson, BHA chief executive Bob Cotton insisted that tourism and hospitality was the "economic lifeline" for many regions of the country
"All of us in the industry - nationally, regionally, locally - have the task of ensuring that our politicians and parliamentary candidates at the next general election fully understand the scale of the contribution that the industry makes to the economy," he said.
"And - more important - the even greater contribution it could make if only government would take it seriously."
Cotton warned that the withdrawal of the Industrial Building Allowance and other tax incentives was a double whammy which was now deterring the 40,000 or privately owned hospitality businesses from investing in their future.
"The industry needs a government that understands that tourism remains a key economic driver - both nationally and in the regions. Do we have this understanding? I fear not."
Johnson told the 600 delegates that the 2012 Olympics provided "unprecedented opportunities for the UK's tourism and hospitality industries" if they get their offer right.
The BHA also announced its annual awards at the luncheon:
Education and Training (sponsored by the Hospitality Skills Academy)
Kevin Bayes (Great Yarmouth College)
Phil Dobson (University College, Birmingham)
Garry Hunter (Westminster Kingsway College)
Shyam Patiar (Llandrillo College)
Neil Rippington (Colchester Institute)
Steve Thorpe (Norwich City College)
For their work in developing the new Professional Cookery Diploma.
Food (sponsored by Asda) Northcote Manor, Lancashire for the lead it has taken in encouraging the use of local produce and in encouraging local suppliers.
Tourism (sponsored by AA Hotel Services)
Brend Hotels: One of the top ten employers in the South West the company has more than 1,100 staff and is quality driven, continuing to re-invest in its hotels year-on-year.
Sustainable Business (sponsored by Nestlé Professional)
Vacherin:. For introducing and developing sustainable measures dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of the company's activities.
Marketing (sponsored by Comet Business Services)
Pride of Britain Hotels: At a time when trading conditions are proving so challenging, Pride of Britain has a clear focus on marketing and sales.
Innovation (sponsored by LG Electronics) Apex Hotels. A group of six totally eco-friendly hotels with a dedicated architect in charge of Sustainable Hotel Design.
Special Award Peter Catesby, a long-standing member of the association, a past chairman of the BHA National Executive and chairman of the BHA Finance Committee for the last ten years.
Tourism for All
Park House Hotel, Sandringham and its manager Tess Gilder. For providing an exceptional level of service to the elderly and to those lacking mobility.
By Daniel Thomas
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