Hospitality Ulster has called on the NI Executive and the Department for the Economy to bring forward a dedicated and bespoke Hospitality Strategy to drive the sector’s post lockdown recovery.
The call comes as the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in London publishes its Hospitality Strategy recognising just how important the sector is to the economy and local communities. The plan developed in partnership with the UK Hospitality strategy Steering Group of which Hospitality Ulster are members, is backed by senior government ministers and aims to bolster all hospitality business, also taking into consideration how the recovery of hospitality also links to the UK Government’s High Streets Strategy and Tourism Recovery Plan.
The new plan has listed out 22 commitments including the establishment of a Hospitality Sector Council comprising of business, sector representatives and industry leaders to oversee an action plan to deliver against commitments. Hospitality Ulster has said that the hospitality industry here is being neglected at such a critical moment as others seize the opportunity in anticipation of the post pandemic trading environment.
Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster said:
“The slow progress in the lifting of restrictions have created a situation that allows the majority of the sector to be open, or given the choice to open, but does not allow for normal trading and therefore damaging the long term sustainability of many businesses who are struggling to break even. Whilst our counterparts in GB are thinking about the overall transition from recovery to resilience, we here are left looking to our devolved government for direction and support.”
“Some months ago Hospitality Ulster brought forward a considered recovery plan, developed alongside hospitality industry leaders which detailed a range of key immediate and longer term interventions required by the Northern Ireland Executive and the Westminster Government in anticipation of emerging from the worst moments of the pandemic. The work has all been done, we mapped out the policy priorities and the economic levers that need to be pulled. We call on the government to incorporate our plan into a much needed Executive backed future hospitality strategy for Northern Ireland.”
“We need a proper, dedicated, government strategy for Northern Ireland, otherwise we will continue with a piecemeal approach. It’s hard to believe that a sector pre-pandemic contributed £2billion a year to the economy and was the fourth largest private sector employer and yet does not have, even to this day, a written down strategy or clear industry orientated pathway for recovery.”