The chairman of VisitBritain has condemned the "poor value for money" and "grumpy staff" in Britain's hotels and restaurants, in an interview published today.
In an interview with The Independent, Christopher Rodrigues, who represents the tourism boards for England, Scotland and Wales, slammed UK hotels, claiming that some failed to provide basic services like soap, and that hotel staff were not service orientated.
Rodrigues, who took over as VisitBritian chairman in 2007 from Lord Marshall of Knightsbridge, also warned that 50,000 jobs could be lost this year, as well as a fall in tourism earnings of £4b, as a result of the recession, and that poor service would be responsible for some of them.
He said: "We've had a period in which people could get away with not being of the highest quality. We're now in an environment where you have to do quality. Poor value for money and poor service costs jobs and will cost more jobs in a recession."
He went on to say that the quality of some accommodation could be better: "We need to improve service levels and attention. When you ask people what's memorable, it doesn't have to be five-star.
Rodrigues added that some people were born to be in service industries and some people are born to be service industry customers.
Rodrigues was speaking ahead of the Prime Minister's launch today of a £6m campaign aimed at highlighting the collapse of sterling has made Britain a more value-for-money destination for foreign tourists.
It follows the findings this week by Which? magazine, which revealed poor standards of hygiene at budget hotels during an undercover investigation.
Among the problems were unclean lavatories, blood-stained sheets and a loose fingernail, though some of the rooms were spotless.
Rodrigues also called for the Government to raise funding for his "value campaign" to £10m or more, stating that the "French had announced â¬1bn (£900m) investment in tourism and the Spanish â¬750m investment in tourism and we're debating whether we put £6.5m in."
A spokesman for the British Hospitality Association said that Rodrigues was right about service. "Hotels do need to provide a welcome and sometimes you don't get it."
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By Gemma Sharkey
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