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.

Commenting on the publication of the report, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls, who gave evidence to the committee in September 2018, 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.

“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”, continued Kate. “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.”

Study shines spotlight on mental health in hospitality sector

Nearly 60% of people working in Scotland’s hospitality industry have experienced mental health problems at work, a new national survey has revealed.

The study, commissioned by ScotHot – Scotland’s largest trade event for the tourism, hospitality and catering sectors – found that 57% of respondents had experienced mental health issues in the workplace including stress, depression and anxiety. More than 500 people currently employed in the hospitality sector responded to the survey, with 41% reporting that working in the industry had negatively affected their mental health. Long hours, a lack of work-life balance and the demands of working in a high-pressure environment were cited as the top three causes of work-related stress in Scotland’s hotels, bars and restaurants. The results of the survey follow the launch of Hospitality Health, a new Scottish charity set up to support the well-being of staff and students across the industry. Gordon McIntyre, chairman at
Hospitality Health, said:

“The health and well-being of people working in the hospitality industry must be a priority for employers. We need to put mental health at the top of our agenda, and let staff see that this is something we take seriously.”

“By launching Hospitality Health, our aim is to encourage more staff to eat well, take regular exercise and drink responsibly. If we can help each and every person working in the industry to become physically and mentally healthier, whilst maintaining our love and passion for hospitality  our sector will not only be a more positive place for everyone, but also more sustainable.”