EDITOR’S VIEW: One size does not fit all for hospitality

Zoe Monk

If we’ve learnt anything from this devastating year, it’s that one size definitely does not fit all for the hospitality sector.

Since March when the first national lockdown was announced, the government deemed the term ‘hospitality sector’ suitable to cover vast swathes of this wonderful industry, lumping together all manner of businesses operating within the wide parameters of hospitality; from the bars, to the nightclubs to the large city chain hotels and the small, rural boutiques.

This last year we have seen many examples of poorly-thought out and disjointed thinking from government as they impose the same rules and restrictions across the broad ‘hospitality sector’, overlooking the needs to so many in the narrative.

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In parliament, representation for hospitality is currently split between two crowded government departments: the department for business, energy and industrial strategy and the department for digital, culture, media and sport.

As the UK’s 3rd largest employer responsible for 3 million jobs directly and a further 1.8 million indirectly, the hospitality industry needs a clear and strong voice; many of the restriction challenges businesses have faced may have been avoided if representation in government had operational experience and a deeper understanding of the sector.

A Minister of Hospitality role would plug this gap and champion the diversity and vibrancy of the hospitality industry directly to those in power, stressing the importance of the economic, social and employment contribution of our industry to society. Robin Hutson’s seatatthetable social media campaign has drummed up support for a petition, backing the cause, and as a result, the topic will now be debated in parliament this month.

As we head into the new year, venues in England and Scotland are closed as a result of lockdown restrictions and the uncertainty remains as to when, and how, the sector will be permitted to reopen. Now more than ever, we need a voice.

Welcome to 2021, and what we all hope will be a year of freedom to run our businesses without the fear of covid restrictions being thrust upon us.

Tags : minister of hospitalityrobin hutsonSeat at the table
Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

1 Comment

  1. It’s not just Hotels and other hospitality service providers that need a variable tourism focussed business support package. Destination organisations such as GNF need support too, as our membership subs plummet for 2021. Time to use VB’s marketing pot as described in our letter to the PM last week which also included the call for a tourism specific ministerial team, permanent 5% VAT for tourism businesses, a rate relief extension to 31 March 2022, a longer term successor to CBILS. Locally resilient grassroots hospitality and tourism services are what makes our industry sector so unique all over the world, but unless UK Gov’t get off their cloud there won’t be much left to take advantage of the 2021 staycation boom or the Great New Forest Feast!

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