The Prince of Wales has told hoteliers the British hospitality industry may have been taken for granted before the pandemic, but people now realise it is “essential to the enjoyment of life”.
Hoteliers attending the first Master Innholders’ first online event yesterday got a surprise when His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales popped up on screen.
Battered, Not Beaten, was the debut session from the MI, held Thursday 18 March at 3pm, and in a video message of support, Charles said the country was ready and waiting to gather at hotels, restaurants and pubs in celebration when the Covid-19 crisis passes.
He praised the industry’s resourcefulness and resilience, saying it had endured its greatest challenges during the months of lockdown restrictions.
“The last 12 months may well have battered us all, but this time will pass, and when it does, we know exactly to whom we should turn to help us celebrate,” the heir to the throne said.
Charles noted that the sector was the country’s third largest employer and contributed more than £39 billion in direct gross taxes, and accounted for more than £24 billion in expenditure by tourists.
The prince added: “The British hospitality industry is one of this country’s greatest success stories, and one which, I fear, we may have taken somewhat for granted.
“As often seems to happen, it is when something we treasure is endangered that we appreciate it most. As I am sure you will agree, any deprivation does rather sharpen the appetite.
“This is why I believe that, over the past months of the pandemic, we have all come to appreciate the invaluable service provided by your profession – whether it is hosting celebrations, family meals or gatherings of friends, or welcoming in the weary traveller or the wide-eyed tourist, the job you all do is essential to the enjoyment of life.
“Across the country, from Caithness to Cornwall and, of course, in London, hotels, restaurants and pubs are at the heart of our communities.”
The Master Innholders’ Hoteliers event was the first of its education and development sessions. Yesterday saw UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls interview Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson on the topic of nurturing more young people into a career in the sector.
The prince also applauded the industry’s “incredible characters and personalities”.
“I can only marvel at your resourcefulness and your resilience, which is summed up in the title of this webinar – Battered But Not Beaten,” he said.
“I would expect nothing less from your dedicated and open-hearted profession.
“Knowing many of the incredible characters and personalities within the hospitality world, it is impossible not to be impressed with their creativity, their passion and their inspirational, entrepreneurial skills.”
David Morgan-Hewitt, chairman of the Master Innholders, said: “The last 12 months have been catastrophic for our industry, and while we have all been battered by the physical and mental challenges of the pandemic, I truly believe that the drive, passion and resilience of the hospitality professionals working across the UK will see our industry come back stronger than ever.”
Watch the full video message from The Prince of Wales below.