Hospitality businesses should be encouraged to sign up to VisitBritain's new Common Standards rating system, according to the Government's latest minister for Culture, Media and Sport.
On a visit to Duke's hotel in London last week Shaun Woodward was shown inspection criteria used by VisitBritain's assessors. He commended the industry for adopting the scheme earlier this year, which will standardise ratings across hotels, B&Bs and other types of lodging in the UK.
"We need to use the Olympics as a catalyst to drive up standards and the Common Standards help recognise where properties may not come up to scratch. It is great that the industry is doing this," Woodward said.
He pledged that when existing Government hotel contracts expire, they would only be renegotiated with accredited hotels.
VisitBritain's chief executive, Tom Wright, said numbers were on track to meet the target of 80% of accommodation signed up to the scheme by 2010.
- Woodward also launched his plan for a River Summit to be held at the end of the year to work out how best to utilise The Thames as a resource. He said: "The River is a golden, unsung opportunity and one of the high points of London. Within the context of sustainable transport, it's almost a no-brainer."
Hotels (1-5 stars) Includes the categories hotel, country house hotel, small hotel, town house hotel, metro hotel.
Guest Accommodation (1-5 diamonds, moving to 1-5 stars through 2006)
Includes the categories guest accommodation, bed & breakfast, guest house, farmhouse, inn, restaurant with rooms (no star rating).
Campus (1-5 stars) As generic.
Hostels (1-5 stars) Includes the categories hostel, group hostel, activity accommodation, bunkhouse (no star rating), camping barn (no star rating).
By Emily Manson