A new Tourism Council will drive growth and create jobs in the UK, said Tourism Minister Helen Grant at the launch during the British Hospitality Association Summit in London yesterday.
The Council, a partnership between government and the private sector, will seek to find ways to boost British businesses while increasing the number of apprenticeships and jobs for young people in tourism and leisure – the third biggest contributor to the economy.
The new body, which will meet for the first time next month, will be jointly chaired by Grant, Matthew Hancock, the Minister for Skills and Enterprise, and Simon Vincent, President, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Hilton Worldwide.
Announcing the initiative, Grant told delegates at the Novotel London West:
“For a long time now, both government and tourism have wished for a joint approach. Council members will be made up of business leaders from right across industry. I truly believe that this new council could bring about a step change in tourism.”
Simon Vincent said: “This is the first time we have had a cross-Government council looking specifically at tourism. The active involvement of both the Tourism Minister and the Minister for Skills and Enterprise means the council can focus on the key areas of skills and training and quality of service
Yesterday’s announcement comes at a challenging time for the UK travel and hospitality industry which has long complained of a lack of government support for the sector.
Delegates praised the Minister who acknowledged the sector’s longstanding frustration with what has widely been criticised as a lack of recognition of the contribution made by the hospitality industry.
Her candour went down well with the majority of the 650 in attendance including a large number of hoteliers.
Kate Levin, general manager of The Capitol, a boutique property in London told Boutique Hotelier: “I’m pleased about this Council. I think it is a good idea.”
BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim welcomed the announcement, calling it a “major reform.
“The government is affording the hospitality and tourism industry an equivalent voice to other sectors and we commit to working with the Council toward increased job creation and improved skills development.”
The inaugural meeting is scheduled to take place on 10 July and will then meet every three – four months.
Representatives from the following organisations make up the membership of the Tourism Council: DCMS, BIS, VisitBritain, VisitEngland, Hilton, The Tourism Alliance, Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, Intercontinental Hotel Group, Dudley Zoo, Expedia, Parkdean Holidays, easyJet, English Lakes Hotels, Google, First Group, Eurostar, JAC Travel, Continuum, John Lewis, Shepherd Neame, West Dorset Leisure Holidays Ltd and TUI Travel PLC.