UKHospitality has welcomed the House of Lords Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns report and called on the Government to put hospitality at the centre of efforts to revitalise resort towns.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls gave evidence to the Committee in September 2018.
Commenting on the publication of the report, Kate said: “Hospitality has always been integral to the success of seaside towns. Historically, people flocked to the seaside to socialise and relax in our venues from hotels and bed & breakfasts to pubs and restaurants. Hospitality still has a major role to play in the regeneration of our seaside towns. UKH made this point to the Committee and it is good to see it being accepted.
“Arguably the two principal issues facing seaside towns are the workforce and taxes. These can be seen as both opportunities and threats. The report identifies the challenge of the misconception of jobs available but also recognises the career opportunities that hospitality can provide. The right support from Government is going to be crucial in promoting jobs and the Sector Deal for Tourism should be at its centre. The report identified flexible apprenticeships as vital to enticing younger people to live and work by the seaside. Hospitality has a huge role to play here and a lot to offer.
“One of the major barriers to growth in any high street, town or city centre, at the seaside or anywhere else is tax. Businesses are facing continually increasing bills which shrink margins and undermine investment. The rate of VAT in the UK makes hospitality businesses uncompetitive and business rates continue to place unfair burdens on hospitality and seaside businesses. The introduction of a tourist tax, which has been mooted by some local authorities, would put seaside towns back even further.
“If the Government is serious about supporting seaside towns then ruling out a tourist tax, lowering the rate of VAT for hospitality and the reformation of business rates into a truly fair system will help revitalise our seaside.”
Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, comments:
“We welcome this report and its recognition of the leading role hospitality and tourism businesses like pubs can play in the regeneration of seaside towns.
“To help seaside towns prosper, it is vital that businesses like pubs get all the support they can to drive growth. It is encouraging that the report sees a Sector Deal for Tourism as playing a key role in regenerating seaside towns and that efforts should be made to champion and promote careers in the pub, hospitality and tourism industries.
“Local licensing and planning authorities working together in support of the Agent of Change principle are also key to the future success of our seaside towns if they are to have a vibrant night time economy. It is important too that Local Economic Partnerships deliver on their core objectives to promote local economic growth and do not isolate coastal areas that are hard to tackle.”