Thursday, 23 June 2016

UK hospitality industry split over Brexit

A SURVEY of operators in the UK hospitality industry has found that 49% plan to vote leave in Thursday’s EU Referendum, while 43% plan to vote remain and 7% are still undecided. 

The survey by RPBi, the hospitality data specialist, found that the majority of recipients – whether voting to leave or to remain – believe a leave vote would have a ‘negative impact on the economy’.

The B2B survey received 1,915 responses from operators across all sectors of the hospitality industry. The aim: To determine the industry’s thoughts on the EU Referendum and the impact on recruitment and investment in the UK hospitality industry in the event of a leave vote.

Respondents taking part in the survey were asked the official referendum question: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

Hospitality professionals in Wales were most in favour of voting to leave (64%), whilst those in London are the most likely to vote remain with 62.5%. Furthermore, the figures suggest that there will be more operators in Scotland voting to remain than leave; in all other regions, a higher percentage of hospitality professionals intend to vote leave. B&Bs and caterers are more likely to vote leave, with restaurants, hotels, and head offices more likely to vote remain.

Respondents, which included business owners and decision-makers, were also asked: “If the UK votes to leave the European Union, do you think it will be easier to recruit staff?” The majority thought there would be no impact (51%), with 34% stating it would be harder to recruit, 7% said it would be easier, to recruit and 8.5% said they “don’t know”.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Keith Britten, director of RPBi, said: ‘The results of the survey mirror recent national opinion polls. Surprisingly, for the hospitality industry, the majority of respondents said that there would be no impact on recruitment in the event of a leave vote; with only a third saying it would be harder to recruit.’

Further findings suggest that the older the respondent, the more likely they would be to vote leave – more than 50% of those over 55 intend to vote leave, as opposed to 26% for 25-34 year olds. Also, men are more likely to vote leave than women (50% vs 46%).

When asked “If the UK votes to leave the European Union, what do you think the impact will be on investment into the UK’s hospitality industry?”, more than a third of recipients said there would be “no impact” (38%), while 36% thought there would be reduced investment. In all, 13.5% stated there would be increased investment, and 12% said they “don’t know”.

Mr Britten concluded: ‘After analyzing the comments and survey results, the one key fact that stands out is that whichever way people decide to vote, the majority believe that a leave vote would have a negative impact on the economy. However, those voting to leave suggest that the negative impact will be short-lived and the benefits will be reaped in the long-term.”

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