Bristol hoteliers hope 2024 brings more support

Hoteliers in Bristol hope 2024 will be the year that hospitality is given the support that recognises the huge contribution it makes to the UK economy.
Members of the Bristol Hoteliers Association (BHA) have been reflecting on 2023 and looking ahead to the New Year with cautious optimism.
Data recently released by UK Hospitality says the sector is the UK’s third largest employer, directly giving work to 3.5million people and accounting for 10% of all UK jobs.
Hospitality also provides some £7.5bn worth of investment in UK high streets and communities every year, according to the data.
BHA Chair Raphael Herzog said: “The importance of hospitality to the UK economy should not be underestimated, which is why we deserve to get the support we need to sustain our sector.
“Overall, occupancy rates were good in 2023 and have given us something to build on, but it seems as if we are always being presented with additional challenges, too.
“The biggest impact on our sector for 2024 at present is the increase to the National Living Wage which the Chancellor announced in his Autumn statement.
“This will rise by almost 10% from April, but it’s not the Government who will pay the increased wages, it is us.
“We have been calling, for some time, for a reduction in VAT for hospitality businesses, like the temporary ones that were introduced during the pandemic, which would be a huge help to us in coping with the new higher rates of living wage.
“It will be interesting to see, as we enter a General Election year, whether the budget in March will offer us any kind of meaningful support.
“While 2023 was a good year in terms of occupancy, we’re still some way from feeling secure as we still struggle to address the impact of Brexit, the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.
“Our trade in number of covers over the Christmas and New Year period was about the same, if not a little above, 2022, but still lower than pre-pandemic levels in 2019 – yet our costs remain high and, in some areas, continue to rise.
“The latest data from UK Hospitality gives a very clear indication of the significance of our sector to the nation’s economy, so we hope that 2024 is the year that we finally see some serious recognition of this from Government and see some support which can enable us to continue to contribute to this country in a positive and meaningful way.”
An ongoing challenge to hoteliers is that posed by Airbnb lets, with the BHA joining many other hospitality organisations in calling for greater regulation.
Mr Herzog has recently written to local MPs Thangam Debbonaire and Darren Jones in a bid to rally their support in addressing this threat to hospitality businesses.
To find out more about the BHA, visit