Tag Archives: Catering business
The Office for National Statistics confirmed last year what British beer drinkers have been complaining about for the past decade. Over the last ten years, the price of a pint has risen by more than 30%.
In May 2009, you could buy a pint for £2.81 and as of March 2019, the price was £3.67 on average. However, this varies from city to city: a beer in London was more than double in 2019 (55%) of the price of a beer further north.
A survey by St Austell Brewery’s Proper Job IPA also revealed that the perfect pint should:
- have a head of 9mm,
- be served in a ‘proper’ pint glass preferably at 5.30pm on a Saturday,
- with a partner or best mate in a beer garden accompanied by a bag of crisps and
- a singular lack of mobile phones!
However, this may all be academic in light of various issues encircling the brewing industry. The first is climate change: over the past few months globally we have seen severe drought, rising temperatures and epic floods. All have a substantial effect on barley yields worldwide impacting the supply used to make beer. They also affect all the other key ingredients.
Don’t think you’re safe if you drink wine…combining long-term records with global data, researchers have suggested that if temperatures rise by 2°C, the regions suitable for growing wine grapes could shrink by as much as 56%. Stoke that up by a further 2°C and 85% of those regions would no longer be able to produce good wine.
In addition, there has been an ongoing constant battle with the tax burdens facing the pub industry. UK Hospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls spoke about the issue of rising prices overall across the trade. She commented “costs continue to increase for businesses. So it is no wonder that the average price of a pint continues to climb. Even with the scrapping of the beer duty escalator, many businesses have no choice but to pass costs on to customers.”
Rise of Independents Affects Style
Also affecting British beer consumption is consumers shifting from mass-produced, low flavoured lagers from well-known, well-established beer companies to quality independent beers from craft brewers. A recent report points out a considerable growth of the no- and low-abv category. This registered a massive 381% sales increase compared to its market share only two years ago.
Traditional British beer styles such as mild, bitter and golden ale are experiencing challenges with overall production dropping from 14% in 2016 to 5% in 2019 and the percentage of featured producers brewing these styles decreasing accordingly, from 44% in 2016 to 31% in 2019.
Finally, the drinks trade has warned that the UK government’s announcement this week to deny visas to low-skilled workers is set to cause a massive challenge to the UK’s pub, bar and restaurant sector.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said the points-based immigration system would present significant challenges for the pub sector. She commented “many pubs rely on workers from overseas. So it is hard to see how they will cope with such fundamental changes coming into effect in just ten months. Pubs will especially struggle with the costs and complexities of becoming a sponsoring employer in order to take on staff from outside the UK.”
Billed as the biggest and best trade show in the South West for the food and drink sector; the Source Trade Show 2020 took place last week at Westpoint in Exeter.
Here visitors sampled speciality foods and quality drinks and were inspired by ideas for hospitality and corporate entertainment. More than 200 exhibitors gathered from far and wide with 45 first-time exhibitors. It’s not just local produce on offer. Exhibitors also included innovative cooking equipment, venue furniture and the latest EPoS systems as well as advanced business services.
Among the new exhibitors were BeeWraps. This is a natural way to wrap food without the fear of any toxins leaching into the food. With zero waste, and made from 100% cotton, beeswax, pine rosin and a touch of jojoba oil; the wraps are ideal where plastic is usually used, for instance, sandwiches, fruit, cheese, fresh bread. They are also reusable.
Drink and Be Merry
For those who enjoy a little tipple, British Mûre Liqueurs exhibited small batch liqueurs from the winner of the UK Masterchef, Mat Follas. Their liqueurs on offer included Just Blackberry, Blackberry Gin, Marmalade Whisky, Roast Coffee and Rum and Properly Bitter Lemon. All of the products are made with no artificial colours or preservatives with minimum sugars used.
Still with the alcohol, Deck Chair Gin was on display with its award-winning smooth, light and refreshing 3D London Dry Gin. This is created in the heart of the English Riviera. It is crafted with seven botanicals using pure Dartmoor spring water, sweet on the tongue with a refreshing zesty orange finish. The gin is created in small batches using traditional methods and modern technology.
Cocktails All Round
New for 2020, Cocktails and Charcuterie went down a storm. Obviously, a collaboration between Somerset Charcuterie and Ginjar, the feature offered innovative flavour pairings between award-winning charcuterie and refreshingly twisted gin. Participants enjoyed pairings such as air-dried duck with burnt orange gin; black pepper salami and burnt orange gin and fennel salami with rhubarb and ginger gin.
Not Just Drink
The Innovation Kitchen brought together a variety of inspiring chefs and passionate artisans. The South West Chef of the Year winners demonstrated their winning dishes amongst other features. The programme included talks on food allergies and intolerances with Richard Valder, owner of @Angela’s in Exeter. As a small restaurant it can be tricky adapting menus to suit lots of specific dietary needs. Richard shared some of his tried-and-tested methods.
There were also demonstrations from Jim Fisher, head chef and co-owner of Exeter Cookery School. He served up a range of techniques to simplify breakfast. This included tips and tricks on how to serve the perfect poached egg time after time. He also demonstrated how to plan and produce the perfect picnic.
Ash Hamilton of The Curious Kitchen explained how to handle vegans, vegetarians and allergies; and how he creates an atmosphere that welcomes all kinds of eaters. His menu includes a whole host of fantastic dishes that focus on local, high-quality ingredients first and foremost.
The Source Trade Show 2020 demonstrated the great opportunities to learn from others in the South West on how to stay abreast of current trends.
There’s good news for a change. Reports published today show that for the first time in a decade, UK pub numbers have risen. According to the Office for National Statistics, the number rose by 0.8%. And the main reason is down to food sales.
In 2003, four in 10 employees within the UK pub industry worked behind the bar and three were employed in the kitchen; but today, the story is very different. Pubs and bars across the UK now employ 457,000 people and of this, food staff make up 43.8% of employees.
It seems that going for a pint has transfigured into going out for a meal. This is very good news for the industry. Despite the significant closures seen over the past few years, there has been an increase in jobs. With 7,000 (an increase of 16%) more jobs in the sector in 2019 compared with 2018.
There is no doubt that our consumer habits are changing with pubs having to diversify to accommodate these changes. It may come as a surprise that one of the largest chains, J D Wetherspoon, serves more coffee than any other restaurant, except for Costa.
But the chain has proved it can put its money where its mouth is. It announced last month that would inject £200m into the business over the next five years, with the creation of 10,000 new jobs and new pubs.
In the same vein, independent and smaller pubs are serving coffee, tea and breakfast to attract a different demographic such as women and families.
These changing habits are further reflected in a report just out. This confirms vegan food to be on the increase, with sales of meat-free foods expected to exceed £1.1bn by 2024.
In 2019, more than one in four new food product launches were labelled vegan. Last year, a smorgasbord of meals and snacks aimed at vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians went on the market. The uncontested leader of the pack being the outrageously popular Gregg’s vegan sausage roll.
14% of Britons consider themselves flexitarian, meaning they consume meat occasionally but their diet is mainly plant-based. This is twice as many as vegans, vegetarians and pescatarians combined. And those cutting down on meat soared from 28% in 2017 to 39% in 2019. Sales of meat-free foods rose to an estimated £816m in 2019, up 40% from £582 million in 2014.
Still Pressure for Smaller Pubs
It was also reported that the number of micropubs, small pubs and bars in the UK saw a rise in 2019 by 0.4%, the first time in over 15 years that the net figure has increased. This category is defined as those with under 10 employees, however, it is also under a great deal of strain faced with challenges such as business rates, beer duty and price matching with the big chains.
Hugh Stickland, senior statistician at the ONS, said: “While smaller pubs have been struggling to survive in recent years, bigger pubs have been growing in number. We’ll have to wait to see if this marks a revival for smaller ‘locals’.“
2020 has arrived and with it comes the promise of a huge year of sport as can be seen in AC Services 2020 calendar for catering businesses.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games take place in Tokyo.
Football fans are eagerly awaiting the start of Euro 2020.
And with two Twenty20 World Cups, cricket fans also have the inaugural season of the new The Hundred competition to look forward to.
- 3-12, Tennis, ATP Cup, Australia
- 12-19, Snooker, the Masters, Alexandra Palace, London
- 20 Jan-2 Feb, Tennis – Australian Open, Melbourne
- 25, Chinese New Year
- 1, Rugby union – Men’s Six Nations:
- 1, Cricket – Australia v England women’s T20, Canberra
- 2, Rugby union – Women’s Six Nations
- 7, Cricket – India v England women’s T20, Melbourne
- 9, Cricket – Australia v England Women’s T20, Melbourne
- 12-16, Cricket – South Africa v England T20, East London
- 21-8 March, Cricket – Women’s T20 World Cup, Australia
- 22, Boxing – Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury heavyweight world title
- 25, Pancake Day
- 1, Football – Carabao Cup final, Wembley
- 10-13, Horse racing – Cheltenham Festival
- 13-15, Athletics – World Indoor, Nanjing, China
- 22, Mothers’ Day
- 2-5, Women’s golf major – ANA Inspiration, Mission Hills
- 4, Horse racing – Grand National, Aintree
- 9-12, Golf – Masters, Augusta National
- 12, Easter Sunday
- 14-19, Swimming – British Championships, London
- 16-19, Gymnastics – British Championships, Liverpool
- 18-4 May, Snooker – World Championship, Sheffield
- 26, Athletics London Marathon
- 8, May Day and VE Day Bank Holiday
- 9, Football – FA Women’s Cup final, Wembley
- 14-17, Golf – US PGA Championship, San Francisco
- 22, Rugby union – European Challenge Cup final, Stade de Marseille
- 23, Football – FA Cup final, Wembley
- 23, Rugby union – European Champions Cup final, Stade de Marseille
- 24-7 June, Tennis – French Open Roland Garros, Paris
- 27, Football – Europa League final, Gdansk
- 28, Cricket – first round of T20 Blast group matches
- 30, Football – Champions League final, Istanbul
- 4-7, Women’s golf major – US Women’s Open, Houston, Texas
- 6, Horse racing – The Derby, Epsom
- 12-12 July, Football – Euro 2020 various venues, Final at Wembley
- 16-20, Horse racing, Royal Ascot
- 18-21, Golf – US Open, New York
- 20, Rugby union – Premiership final, Twickenham
- 20, 21, Longest day then Fathers Day
- 25-28, Women’s golf major – PGA Championship, Pennsylvania
- 29-12 July, Tennis Wimbledon
- 4-5, Athletics – Anniversary Games, London Stadium
- 16-19, Golf – The Open, Royal St George’s
- 17-15 August, Cricket – The Hundred
- 18, Rugby league – Challenge Cup final, Wembley
- 24-9 August, Olympic Games, Tokyo
- 14, Cricket – The Hundred women’s final, Hove
- 15, Cricket – The Hundred men’s final, Lord’s
- 20-23, Golf – Women’s British Open, Royal Troon
- 25-6 September, Paralympic Games, Tokyo
- 31-13 September, Tennis – US Open, New York
- 31, August Bank Holiday
- 5, Cricket – T20 Blast Finals Day, Edgbaston
- 6-13, Cycling – Tour of Britain
- 10-13, Golf – PGA Championship, Wentworth
- 19, Cricket – One-Day Cup final, Trent Bridge
- 25-27, Golf – Ryder Cup, Whistling Straits, Kohler, Wisconsin
- 10, Rugby league – Super League Final, Old Trafford
- 18 Oct-15 November, Cricket – Men’s Twenty20 World Cup, Australia
- 2-8, Tennis WTA Finals, Shenzhen, China
- 7, Rugby Union – Autumn internationals, England v New Zealand
- 8-15, Tennis – ATP Finals, London
- 15, Cricket – Men’s Twenty20 World Cup final, Melbourne
- 23-29, Tennis – Davis Cup finals , Madrid
- 24 Nov-6 December, Snooker – UK Championship, York Barbican
- TBC, Darts – PDC World Championship, Alexander Palace, London
- 26, Horse racing – King George VI Chase, Kempton
So a packed year of opportunities for events targeting those interested in sport and those trying to avoid it for catering businesses in AC Services 2020 calendar.
The Birmingham NEC played host to the latest BBC Good Food Show Winter from 28 November to 1 December 2019. Hugely popular and one of the most attended shows at the venue, the show was a triumph for exhibitors and visitors.
As usual, the Good Food Show presented a huge range of activities, from the Big Kitchen and Festive Kitchen to the BBC Good Food Stage and BBC Good Food Workshop. Visitors enjoyed the Travelsphere presents: A Taste of Italy & Croatia; CAMRA’s Great British Beer Experience and La Cuisine de Maille Tasting Theatre. While the new QVC Kitchen, featured host Katy Pullinger demonstrating top tips and hacks for mastering Christmas Day lunch. Real inspiration for perfecting the ultimate seasonal desserts and party food.
Food demonstrations from the country’s favourite chefs took place every day. These featured Rosie Birkett, Tom Kerridge, Rick Stein, Michel Roux Jr, Nadiya Hussain, the Hairy Bikers, Ainsley Harriot and Mary Berry.
There were many innovative products showcased at the show, with Symphonia Gin making a big noise. Scientist Dr Ulrich Dyer distils his award winning gin in his County Tyrone distillery. The winner of the Irish Gin of the Year 2019 title, Symphonia No 1 Dry Gin was also awarded a silver medal in the prestigious International Wine and Spirits Competition awards and got two stars in the Great Taste Awards.
Staying with the Emerald Isle, Irish Black Butter has also received a number of awards and went down a treat at the Good Food Show. Irish Black Butter was thought up by Alastair Bell. He comes from Portrush and put together the innovative use of Armagh Bramley apples, cider, brandy and spices. Vegan and vegetarian friendly, the product is also free from dairy and wheat. The new Irish Black Butter Peanut Spread is a brand new product featuring peanuts.
The Pished Fish booze infused smoked salmon selection was chosen as one of the Food Champions at the show. Described as a “fillet of salmon that has been cured with high quality alcohol and botanicals and smoked in small batches over wood” the company offers the most diverse range of flavours. These range from Aquavit cured smoked Scottish salmon with beetroot, star anise and juniper berries to Augustus Gloop smoked salmon cured with blueberries and raspberry vodka. There is also one called the Designated Driver, with no booze, just cherry and juniper wood smoke
For those visitors who like their food spicy, Mr Vikki’s passion for Indian food and culture has over thirty products. While the company has won over 110 awards. From XXX Hot Chilli Jam to garlic pickle and Hell Hot Habanero and King Naga; Mr Vikkis also presents a Scotch Bonnet Fudge, not for the faint-hearted.
The BBC Good Food Show Winter yet again raised interesting ideas. It will return to the same venue in the summer.
Not so very long ago, the UK’s casual dining sector was booming. At one point, major chains were expanding at a rate of one new restaurant opening every single week in the UK. Popular high street food chains were winning awards for the quality of their food. Restaurants such as Zizzi, Jamie’s Italian, Pizza Express, Byron Burger, and Five Guys were springing up everywhere. They could be found on every high street in the country.
However, the trend turned sharply and unexpectedly. In late 2017, the UK witnessed a string of these casual dining chains beginning to struggle badly; with many top names, such as Jamie Oliver with his 25 restaurants entering full-blown administration. The number of restaurants falling into insolvency in the year ending June 2019 increased by 25% to 1,412. This is the highest number of insolvencies since at least 2014. Numerous factors have been blamed for the decline, with many chains experiencing accumulative issues which have left them in a financial mess.
When the trend for restaurant chain expansion was at its strongest, private equity companies were eager to invest. Billions of pounds were spent after 2013 on turning small chains into fixtures on every UK high street; with renowned restaurants vying for business in very concentrated spaces.
Now these investors want a return on their investment that simply is not available. This is due to heightened business rates (which have risen above inflation for four years), increased energy/labour costs and imported foodstuff costs. If we take into consideration the average wage of the majority of the UK’s working population; more and more of us have had to scale back on luxury spending.
Furthermore, quality has become a big issue and with many chains offering an unchanged menu from five years ago. People are beginning to realise that there are cheaper, fresher alternatives than the mass-produced pizza or burger. More vegan and vegetarian options have admittedly been introduced on menus but not much else has altered.
Meanwhile, over the last five years, new cuisines have become popular in the group restaurant scene. The Caribbean cuisine chain Turtle Bay now has 40+ restaurants in the UK, and shows a 143.8% five-year growth. Within the last 12 months, Indian group restaurants saw an 8.9% increase, bringing the total to 159.
Effectively, the current and alarming rate of restaurant closures shows that the eyes of these casual dining chains were literally bigger than their bellies. There were simply far too many to begin with. But although the UK chain restaurant industry may be in decline now; the right measures to reduce costs and a renewed focus on quality could yet revive these franchises. Diversity is key for the restaurant chains to bite back and entice customers to a better experience all round. There needs to be more diversification in the choice of menu and in the value of the meal as perceived by the customer.
There’s been constant activity in the global media over the past few years regarding climate change and the effect that it is having on the food we eat. We may be in danger of losing some of the food we are familiar with; due predominantly to the changes that are taking place in our climate.
This year, the British brassica has been affected by unusually heavy summer rains bringing flooding to the UK’s main growing region for cauliflowers, Lincolnshire. Elsewhere, the record-breaking heat-wave wilted fields of cauliflowers across the whole of Europe. This left a shortage in not only cauliflowers, but also cabbages, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
America’s organic apples, mostly grown in Washington State, are also in trouble. As is coffee, with at least three-fifths of current coffee species facing extinction, according to a recent study. More worryingly is the decline in wheat crops, a staple global food which is sensitive to temperature changes. Places like India could see a reduction in wheat harvests of between 6% and 23% by 2050.
Even the humble sushi roll is under threat. Japanese farmers are blaming warmer, cleaner seas for a decline in nori seaweed production. The nori production fell to its lowest level in 2018 since 1972, pushing up prices and decimating supply.
The 2019 maple syrup harvest has also been affected. According to The New York Times, 2012 saw production of maple falling by 12.5% overall due to an unusually warm spring. This impacts negatively on syrup production because the process depends on specific temperature conditions.
More recently, in 2018, production of maple syrup fell by 21.7% throughout Canada. The culprit was Canada’s warm weather during the winter with later than normal snow. Sugar content is determined by the previous year’s carbohydrate stores with sap flow depending on the freeze-thaw cycle.
The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers has even had to tap into its strategic reserves this year to avoid any shortages or price spikes for maple syrup. Quebec has put in place additional harvest areas to meet with high demands, and they are now being used widely.
From High to Low
In Vermont in America, sugar maple harvest has witnessed a renaissance in the 21st century following decades of decline. The revival comes as many Americans are turning their backs on refined sugars for natural products such as maple syrup, agaves and honey. Production of maple is now one of Vermont’s pre-eminent industries. In 2018, the value of Vermont’s maple syrup production exceeded $54.3M. This accounted for 38% of the maple syrup produced nationwide.
Producers are doing what they can to avoid any shortages; such as collecting the sap later in the season and introducing technological advancements. These cut down on traditional collection using buckets and replace it with miles of vacuum pump-operated tubing.
As Keith Thompson of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation says: “It’s not just about keeping the individual trees healthy, it’s about keeping the entire forest healthy.”
The maple syrup industry is currently keeping abreast of the problem. It’s initiating solutions to combat the inevitable changes in climate. It urges other industries to follow suit in order for our favourite foods to remain available. At AC Services, we thoroughly commend that approach.
lunch! returned to London’s ExCel last week to the delights of food retailers, food-to-go operators, café and coffee shop buyers and owners, travel and leisure caterers.
The line-up of the show included 62 speakers appearing in 36 Keynote Theatre sessions, and more than 400 exhibitors.
This is a record number of exhibitors. They showcased a huge range of products and services; from ingredients to kitchen equipment and counter displays, food and drink to packaging, payment and business services.
One of the highlights of lunch! is the Innovation Challenge award. Where this year, a record 110 competed with many of these innovations enjoying their official trade launch at the show. The products competing for a much-coveted gold Innovation Challenge Award were showcased in the Innovation Challenge Gallery. lunch! visitors chose the award finalists by voting for their favourites on opening day.
A significant part of the show was set aside for plant-based and ‘meat-free’ innovations. This catered for café, coffee shop, food-to-go operators and retailers looking to cater to the thriving vegan and flexitarian market. According to Marketing Week, last year, the UK launched more vegan products than any other nation. This made it the country’s fastest growing culinary trend of 2018 with a market worth of £310m. Approximately 22 million people now claim to be flexitarian and one in eight Britons choose to be vegetarian or vegan. To reflect this, 52% of exhibitors at lunch! offered vegan or vegetarian alternatives.
Sustainability in Catering
Sustainability was another key theme. As some of foodservice’s biggest consumers of single-use packaging and disposables; coffee shop and food-to-go operators have been making huge strides to reduce their environmental impact. The Sustainability Panel addressed these issues with keynote speakers and included some of the top names in the industry; Ollie Rosevear, Head of Environment at Costa Coffee, Martyn Clover, Head of Food at Tortilla, Jim Winship, Director of The British Sandwich & Food To Go Association, and host Martin Kersh, Chairman of the Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA).
The Panel also addressed contemporary issues such as tackling food waste, increasing food redistribution, reducing energy and water consumption, more recycling and reusing (packaging, uniforms, furniture etc), looking to alternative food sources, and encouraging behavioural change.
Hannah Squirrell, Customer Director at Greggs said: “the ‘Blue Planet effect’ has driven customer awareness of the environmental impact of their consumption choices to a whole new level. We are proud to support national environmental initiatives, including Surfers Against Sewage Beach and River Clean Series, and are committed to doing our bit to protect the health of the planet.”
For reusable alternatives, visitors were able to see innovations such as the Ecocoffee Cup created with natural fibres made from bamboo waste material sourced from chopstick production. Similarly, Berrington Spring Water’s Aluminium Refill Water Bottle launched in June has tripled sales projections.
Lunch! is a great show to keep tabs on recent innovations and trends after a long summer. One for all catering businesses to put on the diary for 2020.
The events sector is worth £42.3B the UK economy. This is the direct spend by event delegates, attendees and organisers. While the spend by those accompanying attendees at business events is worth an additional £7.7B.
This why the cancellation of events like Boardmasters at the weekend can have a significant impact locally. Most amply shown by the 200,000 unneeded toilet rolls offered for sale by the toilet suppliers!
Breakdown of UK Events Spend
Conferences and meetings are worth £19.9B, with exhibitions and trade fairs amounting to £11B. Corporate hospitality and corporate events are worth £1.2B. While outdoor events and festivals and cultural events each bringing in £1.1B. Unsurprisingly, sporting events are worth £2.3B.
The events sector employs over 25,000 businesses that sustain 570,000 full-time jobs. Over 7,000 major outdoor events are held each year. Following the success of the 2012 Olympics; the UK has become a world leader in outdoor events with UK expertise sought globally.
There are a number of events coming up that the UK government is aiming to capitalise upon, including:
- 2020 UEFA European Championships,
- 2020 400th Anniversary of the Mayflower voyage,
- 2021 Rugby League World Cup and
- 2022 Commonwealth Games and Festival of Britain.
The UK government published in June a comprehensive International Business Events Action Plan 2019 – 2025. This outlines in detail how the UK government policy will “support the business events industry in attracting, growing, creating and retaining international business events”.
Events Industry Impact on Catering
Which brings us to the impact on the catering industry. For those who have attended events in the past, whether sporting, music or entertainment, there has been a significant rise in the scope and quality of food available. In the past, there were three options: hot dog, burger or fish and chips but sophistication has entered the mobile catering market big time. Today, there is a bewildering choice of street food available at any worthwhile event.
Event catering can be a high-risk business, but with high risk comes the opportunity for huge rewards. The profitability of corporate catering has been highlighted recently by the acquisition by food delivery giant Just Eat of City Pantry . City Pantry works with suppliers to provide thousands of meals for corporate events and business meetings.
“Working with City Pantry to accelerate its mission to improve and modernize the workplace dining experience is a great opportunity… it’s the right time for us to enter the corporate market and expand our offering.” Said Peter Duffy, Interim CEO of Just Eat.
Venue catering is a growing and expanding industry. It has many opportunities for start-ups and established caterers to capitalise on. Variety, quality and value are the key aspects for customers. With events drawing in more and more visitors every year, this sector of the industry has great potential.
Bob Fox, director, The Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS) offers some advice to those providing for outdoor events. “Experienced caterers can take five figure sums in only a few days. Before committing to any event, caterers need to ensure that the organiser knows what they are doing, that the event is well marketed and that the occasion is going to be a success. After all, the best stall in the world will make no money if there is nobody there to buy the product.”
While even the best marketing in the world can do nothing against the British weather if it decides to be bad; not planning events at all is the worst gamble given how lucrative it is for all kinds of catering businesses.
According to statistics from the ONS, visitor numbers to the UK are slightly down year on year by about 2%; with 2.9 million overseas visits in March 2019.
However, 2018 was a record-breaking year in terms of tourists so the figures are not in any way alarming.
Between January and March 2019, there were 7.8 million inbound visits to the UK. This is just 1% below the inbound visits in the same period in 2018. Overall, overseas visitors to the UK spent £22.7 B in the twelve months to March 2019. This is down a more worrying 8% compared to the previous twelve-month period.
In June and July, tourism gave a huge boost to the economy with the hosting of the Cricket World Cup. Hampshire County Cricket Club hosted five matches in the long-awaited tournament. This brought a total of £18.3 million to Southampton alone. While Birmingham is predicted to generate a staggering £32.1 million from the tournament.
Many of the fans have travelled from Pakistan and India to watch the cricket. The recent India versus Pakistan match witnessing a staggering 750,000 applications for the 26,000-seat stadium. The importance of sporting global events in terms of boosting the economy cannot be underestimated.
At the end of June, the government announced a deal to prepare Britain for an extra 9 million visitors per year. This is heralded as a major boost for the pub and hospitality sectors in particular. A Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board will be created to promote and market hospitality jobs as viable career options. A three-year industry led skills and recruitment campaign will also be funded.
In addition, local tourism zones will be created alongside a new business events strategy and more investment in infrastructure. The deal will also support the creation of 10,000 new apprenticeships for anyone building a career in tourism or hospitality.
Hospitality sector trade body UK Hospitality hailed it as a landmark moment as chief executive, Kate Nicholls explains. “This sector deal marks a tremendous moment for all of us in the hospitality, tourism and leisure industries. The move will be absolutely critical in changing the perception of the sector within Government and the wider public opinion, and acknowledges hospitality is key to the country’s economic growth.”
The Rise of Chinese Visitors
Finally, China’s rising wealth has resulted in a huge growth of tourism abroad, making Chinese people the world’s most abundant tourists. A new travel trends study by TripAdvisor reveals that travellers from China have shown one of the biggest increases in views of UK destinations, with an increase of 133% in Chinese travellers.
“Overall, these results are great news for the UK hospitality industry – we’re seeing real growth in interest from many countries and resoundingly good reviews from travellers,” said Fabrizio Orlando, industry relations manager, TripAdvisor.