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HOTELS


General Election offers chance to underline our value


UFI IBRAHIM is chief executive of the British Hospitality Association


Historic hospital to become boutique hotel E


Scotland’s Birkwood Castle and its surrounding estate, which was once home to a hospital for mentally disabled children, is to undergo reno- vations that will cost more than £7m – making it into a wedding, conference and special events destination with a wellbeing facility. Wi th an anticipated


lection year is upon us. Both David Cameron and Ed Miliband have described this as the most important election for a


generation. Notably, it is the first election in recent history when it is widely anticipated that no party will win an overall majority and it is the first Westminster election where the Scottish National Party stands a good chance of winning in Scotland. With such political uncertainty, it is


crucial that now, more than ever, our industry continues to raise its profile and makes its voice heard. Te BHA, together with hospitality and tourism businesses across the board, needs to make sure the economic and social importance of the hos- pitality and tourism sector is understood by all political parties and by political represen- tatives at both national and local level; and that our issues are on their future agenda. Te causes which matter most to the hos-


pitality and tourism community are the backbone of the BHA’s work. Here’s what’s top of our agenda for 2015: • Development of a robust skills agenda to ensure this industry is able to attract the right people to achieve growth potential.


• Enlightened employment legislation that doesn’t jeopardise industry growth/jobs.


• Price competitiveness. UK VAT at 20 per cent means we aren’t operating on a level playing field with the rest of the world.


• The UK is failing to gain our share of business from new markets like China – visa policies must continue to be improved.


• Managing our industry’s reputation on food sourcing, security and health matters.


• The need for a more efficient planning process, which encourages rather than restricts further development. Te tourism and hospitality industry has


vast growth potential. It has been predicted the sector will grow at an annual rate of almost 4 per cent over the next 10 years, significantly faster than the UK economy as a whole and many other sectors. Now, more than ever, is the time for the


hospitality industry to underline our con- tribution to the economy. And the BHA is proud to act as the voice of UK hospitality.


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completion date of April 2016, Envestco – hotel and property developer – has con- firmed that once planning is approved, work will begin on the phased mixed residential and commercial development of Birkwood Estate in Lanarkshire. Once the castle is declared structurally


Te castle was originally built in 1887 and later became a hospital


secure, the building will be made wind and waterproof before visible repairs can be carried out to the castle’s roof and windows. Only then will the Grade B-listed building be converted into a 48-bedroom boutique hotel, operated by Envestco and Birkwood Estate staff. Te spa will be added to the property during the second phase of the redevelopment and


will mirror its sister hotel’s Elemis spa at Peckforton Castle in Cheshire, which is owned by Chris Naylor – a director of Envestco. Te spa’s installation will cost £2m and is set to be opened by Q2 2019. Architects Tony Naylor, Steve Jones & Ian Arnott are being consid- ered by developers as the design consultants for the project. It is not yet known if the Birkwood spa will be supplied by Elemis too. Details: http://lei.sr?a=R6S5U


Budget sector booming, says study


Te fast-growing budget and limited service hotel sector is not only booming, but forcing big hotel chains to become more innovative to stand out, claims a new report. The Hostel and Budget


Traveller Market in Europe - Gaining Momentum paper published by hotel consul- tancy HVS, outlines the fact that the larger hotel com- panies such as Premier Inn and Tune Hotels are rapidly moving into this sector as they try to keep ahead of competition and claim a share of the low cost accommodation market. “Economic conditions over the past seven


Operators such as Tune Hotels are leading the growth charge Te report details a range of global activity


years have lead to a polarisation of the hotel market – with the limited to select service segment gaining traction at the same time as the luxury and full service market has been squeezed,” said Harry Douglass of HVS. “Te vibrant hostel segment now presents


the consumer with more options and the investment market with more considerations. As a result, transaction activity is particularly healthy in this sector and likely to continue.”


Read Leisure Opportunities online: www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/digital


including Chinese travel company Jin Jiang International Holdings, which has recently acquired Starwood Capital’s – Louvre Hotels the second largest operator in Europe with several budget hotel brands. Meanwhile, Accor is investing in additional hotels across Europe, and Goldman Sachs has acquired the Grove Travelodge portfolio in a £500m joint venture. US investor Invesco has also spent £47.5m


on a 23 per cent stake in Generator Hostels and aims to increase the portfolio to 20 prop- erties by 2018. Details: http://lei.sr?a=R6S5U


Twitter: @leisureopps © CYBERTREK 2015


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