The British Hospitality Association and Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers will put their proposed merger to a vote of their respective members next month.
The merger would create a new trade body called UKHospitality representing 700 members with 65,000 outlets and nearly 3 million employees across the UK’s $130bn leisure sector. The British Hospitality Association (BHA) is a forum for the operators of hotels, clubs, serviced apartments, restaurants and visitor attractions while the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) focuses on pubs, restaurants and cafes.
The new body would be chaired by Nick Varney, the current chairman of the BHA and CEO of Merlin Entertainments, while Kate Nicholls, the current chief executive of the ALMR, would take on the CEO role.
Nicholls told The Telegraph that the two trade bodies have a history of working together to secure relief for their members on issues such as business rates.
“We would have a single voice for the first time for a sector which is the third largest private sector employer and the fourth largest industrial sector in the UK,” she said.
Nicholls added that, if the merger goes ahead, UKHospitality will initially focus on securing a sector deal with the Government to support its skillbase. Ensuring access to labour following Brexit and lobbying for a tax regime that places a great burden on online business will also be priorities.