‘No-deal would be a catastrophe’ Ian Taylor

A no-deal Brexit would be a “catastrophe” for travel and tourism, according to UKhospitality chief Kate Nicholls, who insisted “we’re making ministers aware of that”. Nicholls told the UKhospitality

conference in London on Tuesday: “We’re in for a prety rocky ride until October. If we fall out of the EU with no deal on October 31, it will be catastrophic for the industry.” She said Tory leadership hopefuls

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt “need to ensure we don’t slip into negative messaging” during their election batle. Nicholls said she had met

Johnson in the past week and he had

“held out a hand of friendship to hospitality”. She added: “We know Johnson well and have worked with him in the past.” Nicholls said the government

would signal support for the industry by announcing a sector deal for tourism “if not this week, then next”. “Te sector deal will be game

changing,” she said. “It means I can give the government a prod every time it comes up with some stupid piece of legislation.” Nicholls, who sits on the

government’s Tourism Industry Council alongside Mark Tanzer of Abta and other industry heads, may be the industry leader in most contact with government. She said: “We’re now the sixth sector going into

meetings in Downing Street alongside manufacturing, financial services, retail, the CBI and small businesses. I’m in monthly meetings with the Department for Culture, monthly meetings with the Home Office and

Kate Nicholls

weekly meetings with [environment secretary] Michael Gove on Brexit. “We’re working with Number 10

on how our sector provides a shop window for the UK. We plan a ‘soſt capital strategy’ endorsed by Number 10, whoever is in charge, [and] the departments that regulate your business will be responsible for ensuring they don’t get in the way of promoting that. “Building on the sector deal, we

plan to make the UK a world leader in delivering global events. “We’ve had categorical assurance

that whatever happens [with Brexit], our EU workers are guaranteed setled status – every EU worker in the country, even if here for a day, has the right to remain.”

Agents ‘can play a role in fixing broken Britain’

Erica Bush

Travel agents can help fix a “divided” and “broken” Britain, according to John Lewis’s customer experience director. Peter Cross said retailers such as

travel agents have the ability to foster a sense of community in towns and high streets around the country. “Tere is a shiny future for the

high street if its purpose is reinvented – and what that probably means is connectivity and identity,” he said.

4 JUNE “We [in Britain] are struggling

with our identity and who we are – we’re a bit divided and broken. “But people will search for their

sense of place in the community as a natural response to that, and the town is likely to be one of those critical places to find your human connection. “So if high streets can do that with

some brilliant retailers – and travel is an amazing place to do that – rather than speak about ‘this is our shop’ and ‘this is our sector’ and ‘what is

our role in the experience?’, you could be a real energiser in that space.” John Lewis has Kuoni concessions in 19 of its stores, which it has used to merge travel and lifestyle sales. “Te old days of having different

sectors working independently are gone,” added Cross, who was speaking at this week’s Leaders of Luxury forum held by Travel Weekly sister title Aspire. He explained how John Lewis

remodelled customer service in its 51 UK stores, including giving

Leaders of by

Peter Cross at this week’s Leaders of Luxury forum

some of its 17,000 customer-facing staff theatre training to give them more confidence, which he said was “alluring” to customers. “If I’m going to get off my sofa

and go to a shop, I need a rewarding, human connection,” he said. “I need something that makes me

feel: ‘I could have done this online, but I’m glad I didn’t.’” Te retailer has begun a focus

on experience-led customer service, such as introducing Style Studios in 30 fashion departments from August.

David Cotsworth

Sarah Lucy Brown

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