The British Hospitality Association (BHA) today launches the industry’s agenda for growth with a report that indicates that 300,000 new jobs could be created in the sector by 2020 if government and industry work together. The report titled The Agenda for 300,000 New Jobs provides the latest research showing how the hospitality and tourism industry is fuelling jobs growth in Britain, how it has moved up to 5th place overall in the World Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Rankings, but that it is at the bottom of this league table on price competitiveness. The research also shows that hospitality and tourism now accounts for over 10% of the UK’s workforce and is now the 4th largest employing industry in the UK, its growth significantly outpacing the rest of the economy. It also highlights that the industry generated over one quarter of all new jobs created since 2010 – (153,000 jobs) and is uniquely placed to generate new jobs for the 18-24 age group. Scotland and Wales have the highest percentage of people employed in hospitality businesses (9.2% each) and Northern Ireland has the lowest percentage (7.3%). Westmoreland and Lonsdale (in The Lake District) is the parliamentary constituency with the highest percentage of people working in hospitality. Three London Boroughs (Kensington, Westminster North and Chelsea and Fulham) are also in the top 20 parliamentary constituencies which have the highest percentage of people working in hospitality. The BHA has had exclusive access to World Economic Forum research into Travel and Tourism Competitiveness. These key findings are: the UK has improved its overall world travel and tourism ranking and moved from 11th position in 2009 to 5th in 2013. As a holiday destination, Britain is perceived as too expensive for many international travellers and businesses looking to travel to the UK – it is at the very bottom of the price competitiveness ranking at 138 out of 140 countries Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, said: “We present a clear choice for the Government and the hospitality industry. Either we are content with a ‘steady as she goes’ approach or we jointly pilot a path for a more ambitious strategy. Growth will be hard to maintain because of international competition and the weak economy. If we do something about this now then the prize is considerable – 300,000 new jobs in Britain.” Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “The British service sector is world beating and one of many jewels in our crown. Millions of guests were welcomed to London 2012 and received the gold standard in hospitality. Through tough economic times, the industry has stood firm, creating thousands of new jobs and bringing vital tourism to the UK. Jobs and growth are my number one priority, and I thoroughly welcome the ambition shown by the BHA to create nearly 300,000 jobs in the hospitality sector by 2020.” Simon Vincent, president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Hilton Worldwide, said: “We welcome this report by the British Hospitality Association. The hospitality industry is the UK’s fifth largest sector, worth well in excess of £100bn a year, and as such it needs to be viewed by the Government as an export industry. Government and industry working together is essential to increasing our global competitiveness in areas such as visa reform, infrastructure development and investment in young people to ensure the UK remains best in class. With over 100 hotels in the UK and 23 in the pipeline, Hilton Worldwide looks forward to working with Government to drive forward the necessary reforms to ensure the industry realises its potential.”