A partnership between the Government and the tourism and hospitality sector that will focus on improving skills, increasing the quality and quantity of jobs available and boosting enterprise in the industry was announced by the Minister for Tourism Helen Grant today.
Speaking at the British Hospitality Association annual summit Grant said that the new Tourism Council - an industry-led board of employers and leading players in the sector – will share and develop best practice so that tourism continues to thrive.
The Tourism Council, which will hold its inaugural meeting next month, will be co-chaired by the Tourism Minister, the Minister for Skills and Enterprise, Matthew Hancock and Simon Vincent, a senior industry representative from Hilton Worldwide.
Minister for Tourism, Helen Grant said:
The tourism and hospitality industry helps us sell Britain, helps contribute to economic growth and helps drive investment. The Government is committed to working in partnership with the sector to build on the success achieved to date and to help deliver further economic growth for tourism related businesses across the country.
Skills and Enterprise Minister, Matthew Hancock said:
Small businesses in towns and villages across the country are the bedrock of our tourism industry and an important part of the wider economy. We must do everything we can to ensure they have the right environment to thrive and grow.
This includes making sure that young people are equipped with the skills to work productively in this sector. Last year, there were over 27,000 apprentices in Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality roles and I am keen for this number to increase. This council will support the development of skills, the sharing of best practices and provide means for tourist businesses to innovate and grow.
The Council will be made up of 22 members representing industries engaged in transportation, hospitality, entertainment, travel and accommodation. Signed up members include VisitBritain, VisitEngland and the British Hospitality Association along with companies such as Whitbread, easyjet, John Lewis and Expedia.
It will look at increasing the availability and take up of apprenticeships and improve training and development within the sector.
Simon Vincent, President, EMEA, Hilton Worldwide said:
This is the first time we have had a cross-Government council looking specifically at tourism. The active involvement of both the Tourism Minister and the Minister for Skills and Enterprise means the council can focus on the key areas of skills and training and quality of service, in the first instance. Taken together, these things are central to helping deliver growth, competitiveness and innovation in our industry.
Ufi Ibrahim, CEO of the British Hospitality Association said:
By establishing the Tourism Council, the government is affording the hospitality and tourism industry an equivalent voice to other sectors helping to drive forward the economy. We congratulate Helen Grant MP and Matt Hancock MP for making such a major and important reform, and we commit to working with the Council toward increased job creation and improved skills development.
The Tourism Council will meet every 3-4 months and builds on the work already announced by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills who earlier this year announced tourism and hospitality would be part of the trailblazers programme – an initiative designed to develop a clear and concise apprenticeship standards throughout many industries in the UK.
Representatives from the following organisations make up the membership of the Tourism Council: DCMS, BIS, VisitBritain, VisitEngland, Hilton, The Tourism Alliance, Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, InterContinental Hotels Group, Dudley Zoo, Expedia, Parkdean Holidays, easyJet, English Lakes Hotels, Google, First Group, Eurostar, JAC Travel, Continuum, John Lewis, Shepherd Neame, West Dorset Leisure Holidays Ltd and TUI Travel PLC.