Travelodge is to rejoin the British Hospitality Association (BHA) after dramatically quitting the industry body two years ago.
Grant Hearn (pictured), chief executive of the 513-strong budget hotel chain, said the company was signing up again to the BHA to help champion the industry's interests with a view to maximise all growth opportunities and help create jobs.
"This includes reducing VAT across hospitality services, in order to make us as competitively priced as our European neighbours, as well as streamlining our visa system so that we too can capitalise on tourist business from emerging countries such as China and India," he said.
Hearn's predecessor as chief executive, Guy Parsons, took the decision to step aside from the BHA in June 2010, saying that the company could best lobby the Government as an individual entity. Travelodge had previously accused the BHA of "failing to note the rise of the budget hotel sector".
Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of BHA, said she was delighted that Travelodge had decided to rejoin the organisation.
"It's vital that the industry speaks with one voice on key lobbying issues and that voice is BHA's," she explained. "Travelodge has made its position very clear on VAT and we are delighted it will now be throwing its weight behind BHA and its campaign to reduce VAT for hospitality services and to make tourist visas more accessible to key source markets.
"With Travelodge back as a member, more than ever the BHA represents the cohort of key hospitality industry leaders that speaks for the whole industry. This will immeasurably strengthen the messages we are getting across to Government, and our lobbying generally."
By Janet Harmer
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