GDP figures highlight importance of hospitality

Figures show impact of hospitality on UK’s economy and make the case for sector to be at heart of reopening plans.

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics last week have highlighted the economic importance of the hospitality sector.

UKHospitality (UKH) has said that the figures call for the industry to be supported and central to the government’s reopening plans.

Estimates for November show UK GDP falling by 2.6%, with hospitality, which was effectively closed in England during the month, accounting for just over one-third (0.9%) of the decline.

“The GDP figures make for pretty depressing, if not surprising, reading," says UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls. "What is noticeable is that hospitality, a sector that was effectively closed down across England in November, is responsible for just over one-third of the decline.

“This really hammers home how important our sector is to the economy. When we were open in the summer, albeit with restrictions, our return to growth contributed to the economy growing. The figures highlight our power as an economic driver and show why we should be at the heart of plans to revitalise the economy.

UKH says hospitality must be prioritised once vaccines have been rolled out to the vulnerable and an exit strategy has been determined.

"We need to be supported properly if we are expected to power economic growth and spearhead the country’s revival," adds Nicholls. "The level of support has to reflect the hit that the sector has taken and ensure those hardest hit receive the proper help they need.”