Budget hotel group Travelodge aims to highlight tourism growth potential by hosting an event today at the Conservative Party Conference.
Entitled "New Champions: Unlocking the skills and growth potential of unexploited sectors in the UK economy", the event will feature a panel of speakers who will discuss the need to raise the profile of UK tourism amongst policy makers, and the need for government to unleash the growth potential of the industry.
It will also address skills shortages and youth unemployment and look at how further policymaker support can enable companies to upskill Britons and provide more opportunities for school leavers and young people.
Tourism is the fifth largest business sector in the UK, contributing £127b to the British economy, and the event will look at how tourism and other industries can play a bigger role in driving economic growth.
The speakers are: British Hospitality Association chief executive Ufi Ibrahim; Nick Boles MP, minister of state for skills and equalities; Dr Gerard Lyons, chief economic advisor to the Mayor of London; and the Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG, parliamentary under-secretary of state for business, innovation and skills and minister for intellectual property.
Peter Gowers, chief executive of Travelodge, will argue that the government needs to update its thinking around tourism and hospitality; industries with real jobs and growth prospects; and that we need to move beyond ‘Downton Abbey Britain' and become a society where you can serve and yet not be a servant.
He said: "We need a government that recognises the role that tourism and hospitality play in driving economic growth, so that the industry can unleash its full potential.
"The tourism and hospitality sectors have played a key role in the UK's continued economic recovery, creating a third of all new jobs in the UK since 2010 and contributing 10% of UK GDP. We are putting tourism and hospitality on the agenda and this is a great opportunity to get in front of a key audience and demonstrate the impact that the industries make."
Nick Faith, event chair and director of communications at Policy Exchange, added: "In areas of the country that feel particularly isolated by the growth of London and other major cities, sectors like tourism, catering and hospitality can provide life changing opportunities for people who don't feel they have a stake in what the Prime Minister refers to as the ‘global race'.
"This event will look at the ‘forgotten sectors' of the economy and explore how government can work with business to ensure the economic recovery reaches every part of the country."