The United Kingdom’s movers and shakers of the hospitality industry converged to discuss the way forward for tourism in the mother country.
The British Hospitality Association’s “Hospitality and Tourism Summit” took place on Tuesday, 11 June at the Intercontinental Park Lane in London to set out an agenda for unlocking the economic potential of the industry. From global trends to strategies for success and the multifaceted debate on people, jobs and skills, organisers noted that the summit proved to be a thought-provoking event.
A panel session to discuss strategies for success included a host of top professionals and government representatives.
At the heart of the session were messages about the tactical approach and inherent challenges in addressing government, and the clear need to create the right business environment to drive economic growth.
Panellists noted that the relationship between tourism and other industries such as manufacturing was not pushed strongly enough and that UK families were taxed more if they chose to holiday at home rather than, say, abroad in France.
Sir John Armitt, the chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority and City & Guilds, said that the current education system had not done enough to ensure that young people were fit for work.
“[T]here is a continued obsession with academic education which is limiting,” he said. “The tide is beginning to shift; recent research found that there were one million more people studying for vocational qualifications than in 2012. Employer engagement is critical to ensuring that suitable qualifications are developed and all employers play their role in ensuring their voices are heard.”
Willie Walsh, chief executive of the International Airlines Group, felt that airport capacity was an issue, particularly if the UK was to capture business from growth markets.
“[I]nvestment in infrastructure is essential to the growth of the UK economy,” said the former head of British Airways.