Views on the hospitality sector in light of Covid-19.
Chief executive, UKHospitality
There is no point in sugar-coating the pill or dancing around the facts of the matter, this is the worst crisis that the UK’s hospitality sector has faced in living memory. The hard work is by no means behind us, either. There is still a long way to go, and a huge amount of graft to be done if we are to make it through in one piece, never mind emerge in any state of match-fitness. Although, if any sector can emerge from a crisis such as this stronger, it’s ours.
A lot of our work at UKHospitality is to ensure that the environment is as supportive as it can possibly be. Throughout the crisis we have pushed the government incredibly hard to provide as much support as possible to keep businesses afloat and as many jobs as possible secure, including a roadmap for meetings spaces, conference centres, leisure parks and outdoor hospitality. We have helped to pave the road to recovery, and we will continue to do so.
Throughout the lockdown, and in the short space of time since much of the sector has reopened, we have faced up to some difficult truths and learned some valuable lessons. We are still learning lessons about what it takes to make a success of the reopening.
UKHospitality’s latest Future Shock report provides a snapshot of a sector that is now attempting to find its feet again following the Covid-19 crisis. It shows the scale of the impact on our sector and scrutinises the new reality to which we are all trying to adjust.
These reports tend to identify emerging trends and opportunities for businesses, chart the evolution of the sector and make predictions. This one has a different feel to it. It is a ‘future shock’ borne out of necessity, rather than opportunity. It is an industry reacting to a situation that none could have foreseen.
The past few months have been dreadful for many businesses and the report reflects that fact. It also highlights the ingenuity on show and the ability of the sector to rally in the face of existential threat. Hopefully, future editions of this publication can be produced under more positive circumstances.
Representing more than 700 companies in a sector that employs over 3.2 million people, UKHospitality speaks for an industry that represents 10 per cent of UK employment, 6 per cent of businesses and 5 per cent of GDP including attractions, leisure, hotels and bars.
Formed by the merger of the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) in April 2018, its main aims are to represent and promote the sector, share best practice and create an unrivalled networking platform. www.ukhospitality.org.uk
Chair, Business Visits and Events Partnership
After several months of lobbying, providing significant amounts of evidence and research to government, and working closely in partnership with our colleagues at DCMS, we are delighted that the Prime Minister has finally announced a Go Date of 1 October for the recommencement of business events and exhibitions, subject to the successful completion of some pilot events.
While this news will come as a great relief to the entire events industry, we are still conscious that the sector will require significant support going forward as it looks to rebuild and renew. We will continue to engage with government to look at practical ways to ensure that our world class industry continues to thrive and support the UK’s overall recovery over the years to come.
We also look forward to working with DCMS to ensure a successful outcome of the pilot scheme and will provide further updates to the industry as soon as we are able.
Finally, we would like to thank the entire events industry for their patience, resilience and support that they have demonstrated over what has been an incredibly challenging few months, and we look forward to working together, with one voice, as we look towards the next stage of our recovery.
About the BVEP
The Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) is an umbrella organisation representing leading trade and professional organisations, government agencies and other significant influencers in the business visits and events sector.
BVEP’s vision is to support sustainable growth for the UK’s events industry which comprises a number of diverse sectors including meetings, conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, incentive travel, event hospitality, ceremonies, sporting, cultural and festivals as well as other services provided to travellers and attendees to events. www.businessvisitsandeventspartnership.com