The idea of sustainable development and hospitality industry in the modern world requires clear and specific mechanisms. The latter are often elaborated on the basis of the analyzed sustainable development of a particular destination, taking into account its specific political, economic and environmental conditions; all that is made in order to achieve a balance between the development of a particular destination and preservation of its natural and social environment.
In brief, sustainable development of hospitality industry can only be achieved when the specific characteristics and problems are raised and addressed, meaning they should be considered at the local level, namely tourist destination. In the case of the United Kingdom achieving the balance between the development of the tourist destination, its key resources, macro policies, foreign policy and values is critical for having a sustainable destination. While Brexit is only one single factor in measuring the future potential of the industry, the development of the situation clearly depends on the decisions of the policymakers, hotel operators and customers.
Trends in the UK hospitality industry
For the past few years, the UK hospitality industry has become one of the major contributors to the gross domestic product (it accounts for 4 per cent of it) and employs 9 per cent of the workforce in the country (Racounteur, 2016). The combination between leisure and business assists the hotels in the country in the maintenance of higher occupancy rate, higher revenues and profits respectively.
After the referendum decision in June 2016, the hotels and hotel chains recorded a small decrease in the number of visitors; in fact, the drop in value of the English currency has made the country more attractive to foreign visitors in comparison with other destinations. The combination of consensus between Britain and the member-states of the Union and the prognosis for economy that does not deteriorate promises a stronger demand for tourism in the United Kingdom.
Statistical analysis showed that the abovementioned aspects depend more on the development of the Brexit process than on socio-demographic and economic characteristics. This in fact is an interesting theoretical implication, because it highlights the strong role played by the negotiation process for the hospitality industry of the country as a whole. Thus, it is an important aspect to consider when designing policies for hospitality management in the United Kingdom.
As we are all aware, among the most important travel motivators when selecting a tourist destination is the tourist visas’ policy. In the United Kingdom system for granting tourist visas, "there are no restrictions so far for EU residents, and a simplified visa gaining model exists for residents of non-EU countries" (BHA,2015); the citizens of the United States of America does not need visa in order to enter the country, the same applies for the citizens of Hong Kong. Nowadays, some innovative aspects in the area have also been shown. Data analysis showed a strong relationship between the requirements for gaining UK tourist visa and the inbound tourists, choosing the country for their holiday or business travel (the latter is decreasing in numbers due to the world economic situation). If the UK Government does not preserve the visa-free travel for EU citizens, and alleviate the ways of gaining it for tourists of other countries, then it will show lack of adaptation to the homogenizing standards of the global hospitality industry while at the same time trying to maintain, or even increase its country distinctiveness (BHA,2016). On the other hand, the Schengen agreement should not be dissoluted. As a result of the dissolution in practice it would be difficult to operate due to the number of various visas needed to travel across the previously open boundaries. In addition, the price for that travel would also increase.
Moreover, hospitality organizations plan and produce informal and transformational the industry programs starting from the changed rate of VAT up to offering potentially easier ways to gain UK tourist visa. Despite the limits of the present report, it contributes in filling the gap that exists in the hospitality industry, relating to the socio-demographic profile and attitudes of tourists. In fact, the report demonstrates that the easier the visa application conditions the more solvent tourists will enter the country. Considering, all these a strong Governmental approach, something like an understanding of the tourist behavior, implied in a long-term hospitality strategy should be established; in summary these are the intricate ways in which local hospitality industry intersect, overlap and clash with the existing and new-emerging regulations; an aspects important to be considered by Government of a country that highlights the fact that for the past few years, the UK hospitality industry has become one of the major contributors to the gross domestic product (it accounts for 4 per cent of it) and employs 9 per cent of the workforce in the country (Racounteur, 2016). The combination between leisure and business assists the hotels in the country in the maintenance of higher occupancy rate, higher revenues and profits respectively.
One of the reasons for that is the great emphasis placed on the higher gross returns of foreign exchange earnings, and a greater visitor numbers, with little attention given to maximizing net benefits to poor communities, and without a clear strategy of how tourism growth should contribute to the poverty reduction. Ironically, in that basic area of development a lot has been done and discussed in the pages below.
Gaining tourist visas in the United Kingdom - present situation
Britain's retreat from the European Union, the predicted stagnation, or even economic decline is expected to lessen the number of visitors to the country, thereby posing explicit threat to the hospitality industry. So far, the European single market has promoted the access of all Europeans to the country, providing them with equal opportunities to become acquainted with its culture and heritage. According to data of the British hospitality association 63 per cent of the holiday makers in the country are from countries, members of the European Union (BHA, 2016). Thus, important for the new-Government of the country (the one that would be elected after 8 th of June) is to preserve the visa-free travel for members of the Union. At present, many British residents travel to neighboring Scotland for the weekend, as the same applies vice versa, so only a minor threat to the visa-free travel could undermine the positions of Britain on the international hospitality scene and diminish the number of EU visitors.
The question, regarding the visa-free travel to the United Kingdom highlights the strong role played by tourism in the economy of the country; its overall goal is sustaining the industry under threats such as Brexit. A balance between the expectations of politicians and potential travels should be achieved. Unfortunately, the current situation in the sector is characterized by complexity, uncertainty, as well as multiple and conflicting criteria. In this regard, there should be a continuation of the policy of development of the non-EU hospitality market of the country. Only for 2015, the percentage of successful visa applicants from China has risen to 93 per cent (BHA, 2015); the Chinese tourists in the country are also known to be one of the highest spenders (BHA, 2015), a result that allows us to applaud the decision of the British Government to introduce cheaper visas for Chinese tourists.
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Author`s own word
The introduction of that innovative approach will ease the process of applying for UK tourist visa. On the other hand, the present uncomplicated model for obtaining UK visa should include the Indian tourists (BHA, 2015) that to date pay the ostentatious amount of £330 for two-year visa. In case the trend of simplifying the procedures for obtaining UK tourist visa becomes permanent, the country would be welcoming 800,000 Indian visitors annually – adding almost £500 million to the economy and creating 8,000 new jobs in return ( The Royal Commonwealth Society, 2016).
In the concluding section, when literature review, new knowledge and sources that emerged from the analysis are drawn together the basic scenarios in front of the UK tourist’s visas policy are the following:
- In case, during the negotiations is decided that visas will be required to visit the country it can take up to a month to get hold of for a holiday, or weekend in London for example. So the situation when less than a day before travel and you can book your last minute escapes will be forgotten and the number of inbound tourists visiting the country will be diminished; also a plausible scenario is that UK citizens might need visas to travel around Europe, but that is not a matter of interest of this report and requires further research.
- The potential dissolution of the Schengen agreement might enlarge the number of visas needed to travel across the previously open boundaries. It would mean payments for all those visiting member nations who are not part of the single market.
At this stage of the report, the codes, concepts, categories and threats are identified. For the final step the data are further merged, compared and contrasted and further commented upon, using academic knowledge and use of the literature. Literature and accumulated knowledge are used to consider the data, and the various notions that the problem have. Additional relevant literature had to be introduced in order to support and comment the analyses further. Finally, a theory with regards to the importance of the tourism for the United Kingdom economy arose.
The issues emanating from the interpretations of the sustainable tourism looks in depth the relationship between strict Government policies, oriented towards attracting great numbers of tourists and the adoption of relevant approaches. In brief, the decision of the British Government to introduce cheaper visas for Chinese tourists and introduction of innovative approaches of that kind will not only ease the process of applying for UK tourist visa but also will bring about economic benefits. Therefore, awareness of the practical ways a Government and a Foreign Office might use to augment the number of visitors visiting Britain should be part of its everyday decisions. As I stated in the previous paragraph, the present uncomplicated model for obtaining UK visa should include the Indian tourists (BHA, 2015) that to date pay the ostentatious amount of £330 for two-year visa. In case the trend of simplifying the procedures for obtaining UK tourist visa continues the country would be welcoming 800,000 Indian visitors annually – adding almost £500 million to the economy and creating 8,000 new jobs in return ( The Royal Commonwealth Society, 2016).
- Quote paper
- Silvia Stamenova (Author), 2017, Identification and discussion of the effect of emerging issues on the hospitality industry following the EU Referendum result in June 2016, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/387024