The 20.12 marketing campaign announced today by Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport when he opened World Travel Market, demonstrates the government’s appreciation of the value to the UK not only of international tourism, which is worth £16bn, but also domestic tourism, which is worth a further £21bn in overnight accommodation and spend, says Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association.
“Add to this the £49bn day visitor spend and the sector amounts to a staggering £86bn of our nation’s economy.”
She said that the BHA was working to ensure that the campaign was achievable and inclusive to all sectors of the UK hospitality and tourism industry.
“If operators wish to participate, they will be free to use their own innovation and creativity to decide how best to apply the 20.12 campaign.”
She said that tourism was one of the world’s most competitive global industries, with most international governments providing strategic support – in both policy and significant destination-marketing budgets - to grow jobs and wealth through tourism.
“So the BHA welcomes any funding that the UK government makes available to support British tourism and hospitality jobs”.
However, she warned that significant barriers to growth still remained.
“Unless removed, they will hinder the impact of other initiatives. For instance, the high rate of VAT on accommodation, attractions and restaurants makes Britain totally uncompetitive with all but two other EU member states - Denmark and Slovakia.
“Hospitality businesses are also faced with unprecedented rising costs, including increases in business rates, as well as facing difficulties in funding and bank lending, which makes across-the-board discounts particularly difficult to justify and implement.”
Ms Ibrahim stressed that public and private sector partnerships were critical if UK tourism was to compete on the international stage.
“We welcome the 20.12 initiative as part of the government’s policy to support the industry, which has been repeated by both Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State DCMS and John Penrose MP, the Minister for Tourism, and echoed by the Prime Minister.
“We continue to work in partnership with government to realise the industry’s untapped potential. We are already working with the government on the Tourism Deregulation Task Force, chaired by Alan Parker CBE, President of the BHA, as well as on the UK's first international Tourism Summit which will take place next year.”
An independent study by Oxford Economics, commissioned by the BHA last year, forecasts that, if barriers to growth are removed, the hospitality industry, which is the fifth largest in the UK, would be in pole position to create 236,000 jobs by 2015 and a total of 475,000 jobs by 2020.