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Why is the hospitality industry so important?

When we think of ‘hospitality’, it’s easy for us to think just of hotels, restaurants and bars, but the industry is an incredibly broad one also encompassing theme parks, leisure destinations, contract caterers, stadiums, cruise liners and any form of transportation that caters to tourists.

One thing that is well known however is that, as an industry, our focus is customer satisfaction. As our President, Harry Murray, commented, “we are in the happiness business”.

With such an overarching influence on British culture, it’s no wonder then that the industry plays a huge role in the success of the economy, contributing billions of pounds each year.

Last year alone, 34m people visited the UK, generating an astonishing £125bn for the economy in the process. In 2016, total overseas visitor spend in the UK was estimated at £22bn. Spending on the hospitality industry therefore accounted for almost 70 per cent of total in-bound spend.

Likewise, during 2011 and 2012, the British hospitality industry received a huge boost thanks to the enormous amount of overseas coverage generated by events such as the Royal Wedding, the Olympics, the Diamond Jubilee, the Ryder Cup and the Rugby World Cup. This in turn brought with it an enormous amount of tourists to the UK.

A recent report by the British Hospitality Association – now UK Hospitality – on the economic contribution of the UK Hospitality Industry, found that the wider hospitality industry is the fourth biggest employer in the country.

In 2016, it contributed to 3.2m jobs directly and a further 2.8m jobs indirectly. The indirect impact is defined as employment and other economic activity in the industry’s direct supply chain, for example, in the purchasing of goods and services from UK suppliers.

While those stats are impressive in themselves, furthermore, the wider hospitality industry has accounted for around 15 per cent of the overall UK employment growth since 2009, placing it third out of 14 industries in terms of the total number of jobs created.

However, the industry faces an interesting but challenging time. We’ve previously spoken at length about the impact of Brexit on the British hospitality industry, yet it is still very much a growth industry.

Despite a high turnover in some roles, there is actually very little unemployment in hospitality, but the continuous flow of tourists and exodus of EU workers means that we are currently affected by huge staffing pressures. Put bluntly; there just aren’t enough people. So, it is important we continue to look ‘internally’ when attracting new prospects. The jobs are there – we just need to fill them.

With the hospitality industry playing such a vital role in the success of the UK economy, it is critical we continue to raise awareness of just how much a career in it can offer. The opportunities are endless, we just need people to take them up.

We must continue to promote a career in hospitality as a worthwhile one. This is why education and professional development is so important – ensuring that young people entering the world of work see hospitality as a viable career option.

Much like the misconceptions around what the hospitality industry is in its entirety, not all jobs within it are public-facing. From front-of-house to finance and revenue management, marketing to IT, hospitality offers people the chance to start at the bottom and work their way to the top.

As well as the skills learnt internally, the hospitality industry also offers limitless possibilities to gain and develop universal skills that can be applied across the job spectrum. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a huge bonus in teaching and developing skills that benefit employees in their chosen profession, which can then be applied to any industry they work in.

Our courses help hospitality’s Finance and Revenue Management professionals develop their careers, network with colleagues and keep up-to-date with industry trends and developments. They are based on best practice and are designed to help learners advance within the hospitality sector.

Those interested in pursuing a career in hospitality can enrol at any time for the March or September education programmes in Financial Management and Revenue Management. If you would like further information, please contact the Professional Development Team on 01202 889430. To enrol, please email or complete and submit the application form online at


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