POLITICIANS need to realise that hospitality operates at the very centre of the UK economy, and start treating it as the strategically important sector that it is.
A new report launched at UKHospitality’s summer conference has highlighted that, in the past six years, hospitality had increased its annual economic contribution by £20 billion to £93 billion.
Over the same period, employment in the sector has risen to 3.5 million, making hospitality the third largest employer in the country.
In 2022 alone – and in spite of post-pandemic challenges still suppressing growth – hospitality contributed £54 billion in tax receipts to the Treasury, generated £20 billion worth of exports and £7 billion in business investment.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “These figures show just how much of an economic powerhouse hospitality is.
“Despite going through a pandemic and a cost-of-living crisis over the past six years, as a sector we have continued to overcome challenges to increase our value to the economy and cement our position as a major employer.
“It’s essential that our role as a strategically important sector for the nation is recognised by politicians, and that we work together to help grow our economic contribution, create more jobs and enhance our offering in communities.”
Ms Nicholls said that the report, prepared by Ignite Economics, illustrated what could be achieved if the industry had ‘an enabling and supportive policy environment’.
“The potential for the sector to deliver another £29 billion to the economy annually is an opportunity that the Government should be eager to embrace,” she said.
“I urge the Government to work even more closely with us, to seize the opportunities available and unleash the incredible potential of hospitality.
“This means tackling short-term issues that are stifling further growth, like enormous energy costs, food and drink inflation and damaging labour shortages, and really looking at the long-term structural issues holding businesses back, across business rates, licensing and planning.”
Ms Nicholls said she was ‘incredibly proud’ of the resilience the sector had shown in recent years, to continue being a significant source of economic growth.
“Our sector has a long track-record of growing rapidly and driving the economy – these figures back that up and I hope the potential of hospitality is harnessed by the Government.”