Almost three quarters of industry chief executives surveyed for the British Hospitality Association’s Leaders’ Report said that they would be voting to stay in the EU on Thursday, with 8% undecided, writes The Times.
Only 18% said that they supported a Brexit.
Companies involved in hospitality are more likely than others to draw on temporary staff and to use overseas workers, benefiting from the free movement of labour available to a Britain that is part of the EU.
“The lack of predictability of outcome is unnerving,” one chief executive said. Another commented: “We cannot contemplate a world where Britain is isolated.”
A third boss said: “From a business perspective, we have to stay in.” One hospitality chief admitted: “It is such a dilemma. I can see the economic benefits of staying in, but on a personal level I can’t say I’m convinced by the political benefits.”
The hospitality sector is Britain’s fourth-largest industry, directly employing 2.9 million people
The BHA report, compiled by Heidrick & Struggles, a recruitment company, found that chief executives in the sector also cited fears over terror attacks as a key challenge during the coming year.
Overall, most were neutral over whether consumers would become more or less optimistic over the next 12 months.
The survey of 41 chief executives, who together employ 850,000 people and have £30 billion in sales, also revealed concerns that London was facing greater challenges than the regions.
They suggested that security issues could affect customer numbers in the West End and complained that “crazy rent increases” were rampant in the area.