The majority of UK hospitality business owners don't anticipate that Brexit will have a negative impact on their business, a new survey has found.
According to TripAdvisor's Hospitality Sector Report, a third of the 2,395 operators polled (36%) thought that Brexit would have negative implications, while 18% expected it to be positive for their business.
However, respondents said that associated recruitment issues were more of a concern, with 40% of UK restaurant owners anticipating staffing issues and just 4% seeing a potential positive impact of Brexit in employment terms.
In contrast, accommodation providers were more optimistic, with just 20% anticipating staffing issues. Though if small businesses are removed from the data, the concern among the larger groups is far greater at 67%.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said that the report confirmed the perceived challenges that operators believe they will face post-Brexit.
She added: "I'm confident that the detailed conversations we have had - and continue to have - with Government, will ease those challenges. Hospitality employs over 10% of the total number of EU workers currently living in the UK and one in five EU workers are currently employed in the food and drink supply chain. They make an enormous contribution to our industry and to the wider UK economy, providing valuable skills that enhance our businesses and customer experiences."
The report, which asked operators for their biggest concerns for 2018, found that 48% of UK hospitality business owners were concerned by global economic conditions. However despite their concerns 41% said they would be investing in customer service, while 90% of accommodation owners and 60% of restaurant owners were focussing on online reservations in 2018.
TripAdvisor global director of industry relations Sally Davey said: "The Hospitality Sector Report shows that whatever concerns they may have about the impact of external factors such as the economy and Brexit, hospitality businesses in the UK are investing heavily in their online presence and reputation."