A vigorous jobs-creation initiative is being driven in Scotland by The Big Hospitality Conversation.
Decision-makers from more than 75 Scottish businesses are to meet at Glasgow's Marriott Hotel on October 22 to pledge job opportunities, apprenticeships and work placements for young job seekers and the long-term unemployed.
Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, said: "Scotland has enjoyed great exposure to international media in recent months. This is likely to stimulate heightened interest in visiting the country for leisure or business purposes. Now is the time to capitalise on this interest and use it as a base to encourage young people to join our industry."
The jobs-creation initiative follows on from first minister Alex Salmond's launch of a new apprenticeship scheme in partnership with five hotel brands. Sponsored by alcoholic drinks company Diageo as part of its £5m Learning For Life Scotland programme, Salmond's scheme will initially create 36 apprenticeships in three years, aiming to provide on-the-job training across the luxury hotel industry.
Hospitality and tourism makes up some 15% of the Scottish workforce and estimates suggest that the industry is set to grow significantly in the next five years.
According to Mike Saul, head of hospitality & leisure at Barclays, Big Hospitality's event is well-timed: "Recent Barclays research has shown that domestic tourists will contribute more than £13b to the Scottish economy by 2017 and that foreign tourism spend is set to increase in Scotland by 40% over the same period. One key sector that will benefit extensively from this rise in tourism is hospitality."
William Macleod, executive director BHA Scotland agreed that the tourism sector is showing clear signs of recovery. He pointed out that a number of British and international hospitality organisations are investing in Scotland "and others have declared their interest in doing the same".
The Big Hospitality Conversation is a nationwide campaign and joint initiative between the British Hospitality Association, Springboard, Believe in Young People, Barclays, Business in the Community, People First, and the DWP. It offers a commitment to creating job opportunities for 16-24 year olds. Some 34,000 UK jobs have so far been created at events like the one at Glasgow Marriott and the aim is for the hospitality industry to create up to 60,000 jobs for young people by 2016.
Patrick Dempsey, chairman of the Big Hospitality Conversation and managing director of Premier Inn said: " We will train young people, provide them with qualifications and long term prospects within a sustainable and thriving industry."