A merger will create a ‘powerful platform’ for UK’s £130bn hospitality sector

The British Hospitality Association [BHA] and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers [ALMR] have unveiled plans to merge.

Together, the two major hospitality trade associations will create a new body to provide a powerful and unified voice to support the sector.

UKHospitality, as the collaboration will be known, will bring together businesses from all aspects of hospitality – pubs, restaurants, nightclubs, hotels, leisure parks, contract caterers, entertainment and visitor attractions.

The hospitality sector combined generates £130bn of revenue each year and is the UK’s third largest private sector employer – double the size of financial services and bigger than automotive, pharmaceuticals and aerospace put together.

Announcing the merger proposals, Kate Nicholls, proposed CEO-elect of UKHospitality said: “This sector is a vital, dynamic economic powerhouse whose importance is clear in our communities, our high streets and our everyday lives.

“It is one of our fastest growing, most productive industries and last year it delivered one in eight of all new jobs. Faced with unprecedented political and regulatory pressures, now more than ever, it requires the strongest and most effective voice to Government.

“UKHospitality will be that vital voice and I am relishing the prospect of working with members to deliver both strong and connected relationships with government and a shared ambition to reshape the future of hospitality.”

The proposed new body will draw from the expertise, experience and resources of the ALMR and the BHA and would champion the breadth of hospitality businesses across the UK, giving an authoritative voice to over 700 companies and 65,000 venues.

It will speak on behalf of a wide range of leisure and ‘out of home’ businesses, from FTSE 100 enterprises to multi-site and independent single-site operators.

New figures released by the two bodies reveal the sector is forecast to grow by 4.3% annually, generating 19,000 additional jobs by 2020. They say UKHospitality’s objective will be to deliver much-needed policies to help the sector secure that opportunity.

Merger: A single strong voice

Nick Varney, proposed Chair of UKHospitality, said: “Hospitality is a prosperous and vibrant sector with great potential for further growth if the right policies are in place. We are calling for a new ministerial champion and sector deal enabling the hospitality sector to invest in world-class careers and customer experiences.”

Steve Richards, proposed deputy chair of UKHospitality, added: “A single strong voice for this vital and important sector will create a powerful platform for the changes we need – on tax, on people, on property and on regulation – for UK hospitality to really thrive, drive jobs growth and cement its position as a leading industry, globally.”

The proposals have been recommended to members and a General Meeting will be held in February to approve them.

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