The head of Travelodge, a UK-based budget hotel chain, has written to a number of British politicians urging them to use their influence to fight for the nation’s tourism industry.
Grant Hearn, the hotel chain’s chief executive, has written to 106 members of parliament whose constituencies have tourism interests, asking for their support in raising the profile of the UK’s tourism industry from what he sees as its ‘second class’ status in the eyes of policymakers.
Hearn claims that with the right regulatory framework, the tourism industry has the potential to create 300,000 UK jobs by 2020. He has put forward a 10-point plan that he believes would develop the tourism industry into a force that could lead the economy with growth and new jobs. To achieve this he believes that the government needs to give more priority to tourism and reassign its responsibility from the government’s Department of Culture Media & Sports, to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
A tourism taskforce that would be headed by a minister for tourism – and which would be responsible for delivering growth and creating a cross departmental cohesive strategy in cooperation with all tourism partners – is also on Hearn’s agenda, along with easier visa access for foreign nationals, especially those from Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC).
With his rallying cry coming on the eve of English Tourism Week, Hearn said, ‘English Tourism Week celebrates a vital industry in terms of providing economic growth, inward investment and job creation but it has been largely ignored by successive Governments. The industry needs more than just lip service, as we have a huge opportunity within our grasp to help the economy recover.
‘A lack of action is costing jobs, growth and investment, and whilst we dither, our European neighbours and the USA are successfully pursuing growth via forward-thinking tourism strategies.
‘The difficulties in the economy are well publicised, but British tourism can act as a catalyst to help grow the UK’s economy and create much needed jobs. It’s crucial that the Government does everything it can to unleash the true potential of one of the few industries that is continuing to grow, but to be able to do that we need MP’s who will champion its cause.
‘Our 10-point plan is about positioning tourism as a key element of a sustainable economic recovery, so we hope this provides the catalyst for MP’s to stand up and fight for it.’