Concern that Brexit would dent Britain’s buoyant hospitality industry has proved largely misplaced, with the news that pipeline bedroom numbers and occupancy rates continue to be high.
If you are about to start the final year of your degree or are thinking of enrolling at a hospitality school in London, you’re well placed to find employment in England’s capital city, which remains a global leader in terms of occupancy rates. Professional services firm PWC has forecast that London’s hotels will enjoy 80% occupancy during 2017. New hotels will create a further 7,000 bedrooms there in 2017.
However, PWC also reported that the regional picture is even more promising than London, with new hotels and high occupancy levels. Their research found that Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh hotels are emerging as frontrunners in 2017 with Glasgow, Cardiff and Liverpool also showing a healthy year of trading.
The report quotes a senior economic analyst saying: “Hospitality is a key sector for growth, employment and overseas earnings in the UK. It is our 6th largest contributor to export earnings and 4th largest employer – accounting for 4.49 million people or 10% of the workforce and over 180,000 businesses.”
Why is Britain’s hospitality sector doing so well?
Recent political and economic upheavals have apparently made the British more reluctant to pay out for expensive holidays abroad. The staycation phenomenon has seen more people than ever before booking short breaks or even longer holidays on their own shores.
The second silver lining to the Brexit impact is that the weakened pound is actually helping the UK hospitality industry. Foreign tourists are seizing the opportunity to visit the UK while the exchange rate is in their favour.
Business tourism booming
Doomsayers who predicted that overseas investors would turn their back on the UK have also been proved wrong.
Business immigration and investment are currently higher than since the financial crash. This includes substantial overseas led mergers and acquisitions, and foreign companies expanding their bases of operation in the UK (Google, Facebook and IBM for example).
Despite the UK’s imminent departure from the EU, there have even been announcements of new European HQs here (including Apple, who is converting the old Battersea Power Station).
The icing on this particular cake was news that Qatar – owner of more London property than The Queen – is pumping an additional 5bn into the UK infrastructure.
With foreign investment comes business tourism revenue that will help fill the nation’s hotel bedrooms for many years to come.