UKHospitality, the single, authoritative voice for the hospitality sector, has hailed the launch of a Sector Deal for Tourism as a landmark moment. The announcement by the Government will see the sector prioritised and recognised as a key driver of future economic growth and vital to the prosperity of the UK.

Launched by the Prime Minister today, the Sector Deal is an agreement with Government to prioritise and support the sector as a driver of economic growth and job creation. It will see the creation of a Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board, promoting hospitality as a career of choice, supporting and funding a three-year industry-led skills and recruitment campaign.

In addition, the deal would see local Tourism Zones created, a new Business Events strategy and significant investment in infrastructure and connectivity.

Kate Nicholls, CEO UKHospitality, said: “This Sector Deal marks a tremendous moment for all of us in the hospitality, tourism and leisure industries. The move will be absolutely critical in changing the perception of the sector within Government and the wider public opinion, and acknowledges that hospitality is key to the country’s economic growth.

“Tourism and hospitality are inextricably linked, with over 80% of tourism jobs within hospitality, so this will have a positive impact on our ability to recruit and retain the people we need. UKHospitality has worked tirelessly to ensure that the Government understands the importance of our vital industry and we look forward to continuing this partnership, with positive action to secure the future workforce for our sector.”

Nick Varney, UKHospitality Chairman and CEO of Merlin Entertainments, said: “I welcome the announcement of this Sector Deal, which is an acknowledgement by Government of the critical role tourism and hospitality plays in the future of the UK economy. Realisation of this opportunity coincides with consumers’ increasing desire for experiences; whether that’s a high-quality stay, a delicious meal or a fun day out.

“I hope this agreement will act as a catalyst for greater cooperation and connectivity between our industry, Government and other stakeholder groups in supporting tourism and hospitality as the choice for investment and the place for an exciting and rewarding career.”

Co-Chair of the Tourism Industry Council, Simon Vincent OBE, who is EVP & President, EMEA, of Hilton added: “The Tourism Sector Deal is an important vote of confidence in the UK tourism industry, providing a long-term vision which reflects the skills and innovation in our sector and will help ensure we continue to thrive in a highly competitive global market.”

Leading UKH members welcome deal

Nick Mackenzie, CEO at Greene King

“We welcome the Government’s announcement of this Sector Deal, which recognises the important role of the industry in the UK’s economic growth. We are proud of Greene King’s contribution to the industry, employing 38,000 people. We are also one of the largest hospitality sector providers of apprenticeships in the UK and have supported more than 11,000 team members through apprenticeships since 2011. We are looking forward to working with government and the industry through the Sector Deal, which will help us support more people who are interested in a career in hospitality and tourism.”

Thomas Dubaere, COO of Accor Northern Europe

“This announcement is welcome recognition of the significant role the tourism and hospitality industry plays right across the UK economy. The sector employs one in ten people in the UK, whose skills are required daily to represent the nation to the world.

“The number of people employed in accommodation and food service has risen by 18% in the last decade. At Accor, we are investing heavily in the UK, helping to ensure people can capitalise on their talent and the opportunities the sector provides. We believe the Sector Deal will highlight both the range of high value career paths and the economic benefit our industry offers.”

Tim Doubleday, Group CFO at Burger King UK

“The tourism and eating-out industries are intrinsically linked so a sector deal for tourism that will positively impact UK hospitality businesses is to be welcomed. As a global business and one of the most well-known brands in the UK, we are committed to ensuring our employees are given every opportunity to grow and develop in their careers, and this deal will support us in that commitment.”

Bob Ivell, Chairman at Mitchells & Butlers

“As a leading employer of people working in pubs, bars and restaurants across the UK, this new Sector Deal is great news for us and the country’s hospitality businesses. This deal will be a game-changer, moving the sector up the agenda and increasing employment opportunities in both hospitality and tourism.”

Steve Holmes, CEO of Azzuri Group

“Azzurri welcomes this 10th Sector Deal with Government. The hospitality industry is a significant contributor to the UK economy and a major employer, particularly for young people. We are encouraged that this is gaining more recognition in Government and more generally and look forward to building greater support for the sector in future.”

Simon Townsend, Chief Executive at Ei Group

“We very much welcome the new Sector Deal for Tourism and the recognition from Government of the importance of pubs in ensuring the UK remains an attractive place to visit and invest in.

“As the UK’s largest owner and operator of community pubs, we are committed to promoting the sector as a career of choice, transforming lives through offering meaningful employment and improving peoples’ skills, so a supportive sector deal will help us achieve even more.”