UK hospitality sector reacts to election result

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 13 December 2019


The UK serviced apartment and wider hospitality sector has broadly welcomed last night's election result, seeing it as the end of a long period of limbo in which the country's political direction was shrouded in uncertainty.

As a result of Boris Johnson securing the largest Conservative majority since 1987, the Tories now have a clear mandate to take Britain out of the European Union. Whether they are in favour of leaving or not, industry figures have welcomed the degree of certainty this brings.

Robert Alley, chief operating officer of Roomzzz Aparthotels said: "I am relieved to see that the general election has produced a result, and a mandate for the government to act, which should provide some of the certainty that has been missing for the last few years. Parliament has a responsibility to deliver, which we have not seen for quite some time. I am hopeful that regardless how we may feel individually about Brexit, perhaps it's now time for the handbrake to come off the economy and business can progress positively to the new norm after Brexit. For Roomzzz Aparthotels, I hope the Boris Johnson government of 2020 provides a Brexit that we can all work with, carefully aligned with our great European partners and alongside a strong domestic agenda for growth. It's clearly time to rally around together and look forwards."

Jo Layton, director of agency CAP Worldwide, said: "Businesses have been stifled with the paralysis within the UK parliament for two years, which has effectively been in gridlock until now. With Boris Johnson’s Conservatives now having a large majority in the House of Commons, this should have a positive impact on business travel communities and global companies in taking the brakes off their future plans for growth or change, in the knowledge that Britain will now be quickly moving forward with the plan to leave the EU."

Ricky Kapoor, managing director of The Edinburgh Collection, said: "Last night’s election was monumental in many respects, and will have far reaching implications for the United Kingdom’s hospitality and tourism; and on the regional sectors of this vital industry. Tourism is predicted to contribute more than £257 billion to the UK economy by 2025 according to VisitBritain, and will account for nearly 10 per cent of national GDP. On a more local level, Edinburgh sees nearly £1.5 billion in revenue from this vital sector with just under 4,000,000 visitors hitting our famous cobbled streets annually."

"Whilst we have seen an initial surge in the strength of the pound during the immediate aftermath of the election results, there is still a great deal of uncertainty before us. A stronger pound, whilst seen as a sign of strong overall economy, can have a detrimental effect on the number of visitors to the country, and on the amount those who do travel and wish to spend, once here. An inevitable completion of the Brexit process also has implications for staffing costs given the number of EU nationals currently employed nationally through all aspects of the hospitality sector, and what may be required to replace those that no longer can or wish to remain. Fortunately, the Edinburgh market has proved most resilient over the years with global recessions, and other such hard hitting events, doing little to impact visitor enthusiasm in the long term. We have also have seen that a strong pound can have a positive effect on the local economy: local corporate clients performing well in growing economy tend to share their good fortune with the hospitality industry in the form of increasing number of room nights enjoyed, more meetings and events booked, and a greater overall ancillary spend. The future may be uncertain, but we still remain confident for the Edinburgh Market with the diverse mix of business," he added.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “A majority means that we begin to draw a line under the uncertainty we have felt over the last few years. The priority for this Government will be to secure the best Brexit possible, and the sooner it does that the sooner it needs to fulfil its election promises to business. We want to see the promised reduction in business rates delivered at the earliest opportunity. The new Government must also support business in delivering employment and an increase in skills and opportunities across the board”

The pound rallied against the euro and the dollar on the news of the result. Phil McHugh, chief market analyst at Currencies Direct, said: “The sheer size of the majority was truly thumping and helped to push the pound up another leg higher. The Conservative majority now lends clout to Boris Johnson and gives both options and stability in the legislative process not seen for some time. The main uplift in the pound was in the run up to and on the release of the exit poll. Focus will now shift to what happens next – we know the first part of Brexit will be delivered with the withdrawal agreement looking sure to sail through. However the markets will be keeping a cautious eye on the longer term, with the final trade agreement with the EU still to be negotiated within a very tight timeframe.

The City of London is on course to have its busiest trading day of the year today. More than 800 million shares have already changed hands across the FTSE 100 in the first two hours of trading - more than the volume for an average day, while the FTSE 250 index, which contains medium-sized UK-focused companies, was up more than 1,000 points this morning to 21,910, an all-time high.


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