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Contemporary Issues in Hospitality


ContemporaryIssues in Hospitality

ContemporaryIssues in Hospitality

Thehospitality sector has been considered as one of the leading andgrowing industries around the globe. The hospitality industry in theUK comprises of numerous facilities including restaurants, hotels,and houses. It plays a vital role in a country’s economy as it aimsat increasing revenues translating to billions of dollars each year,GDP as well as in the creation of employment where millions ofindividuals have been absorbed in more than 100,000 establishmentsacross the within the country (Hancko Hackberry 2016, p.1). Theglobal hospitality industry revenues are also expected to reach morethan $ 500 billion globally by the end of 2016 (Mangan 2015, p.1).The cross-border movement has been increasing given that there is arise in globalization and strengthening of trade and investmentaspects. The mobility of people for the purposes of taking vacationsand work engagements has a substantial importance and implications inthe social, economic, and environmental contexts. However, variousproblems tend to affect the growth of hospitality sector. Theseissues comprise availability of skilled labour, government andrelated agencies policy regulations, immigration concerns, etc. Thegrowth of international tourism has been a topic of discussion forresearchers in the hospitality and tourism fields to investigate theroles of the migrant workers and their participation in the economy.

Importanceof migration in hotel industry in the UK

Thehotel industry is characterized by diversity in terms of itsorganization and overall operations. The industry, especially in thehotel and restaurant sub-sector, is highly diversified in relation tothe types of businesses that function under its umbrellas.Hospitality and tourism sector represents a high labour-intensivesegment leading to a substantial source of employment (People 1stn.d, p. 1). The industry is among the globe’s leading employers,thus enabling a rapid access into the labour force for the youngadults, women as well as immigrants (Hospitality &amp Catering News2014, p.1). With regards to the supply chain, the core hospitalityand tourism sector generates at least 2 million jobs for an economy(Baum 2012, p.3). Migration has been a feature of human developmentand conception of civilization since the ancient communities evolved.The contemporary movement both forced and for economic purposes,have extended to an unparalleled scale and looks confident to shapethe global, economic, social, and political aspects of life for apredictable future (ILO 2012, p. 3). The migration process in the UKhas been gradually increasing since the 1990s (Rienzo 2016, p. 1). Assuch, when immigrants stay for longer periods, their numbers tend torise by the day. Currently, the population of foreign persons isabout 5.5 million (Office for National Statistics 2015, p. 7). It ispredicted that the UK population will grow to around 71 million in2031 and a significant fraction of the population growth will stemfrom the migrants (Office for National Statistics 2015, p. 7).

Themigration movement contributes to numerous benefits. One importanceof immigration is that it helps reduce skills gap in the labourmarket (Joppe 2012, p. 1). The UK is a huge market and thus, attractsa large number of the workforce not only locally but also fromabroad. The UK labour market experiences rising amount of shortagesin the hospitality industry because of rapid turnover rates andincreased demand for skilled workers. Without the migrant workers,hotel owners would be facing a high number of hard to fill positions(Janta 2011, p.1). This is because the industry is unable to attractand recruit adequate numbers of highly skilled workers locallyinstead they hire foreign workers (London Chamber of Commerce andIndustry 2013, p.4). Research shows that about 6% of the foreignnationals in the UK work in the hotel industry, which accounts forthe fourth largest sector for immigrants to work in after thehealthcare at 15%, wholesale at 11% and schooling at 8% (People 1st2011, p.1).

Asthe unemployment rate dwindles, it becomes harder for hotel operatorsto hire workers from the unemployed, given that this population hasbeen out of work for some time. With the fact that the labour marketis recovering and becoming rapidly competitive, the hotel industry islikely to experience challenges in employing skilled personnel andtherefore, businesses will resort to hiring migrant workers (Rienzo2013, p.1). Also, employers may enjoy some benefits given thatmigrant workers are believed to have a healthy and positive workattitudes and ethics than the local employees. At the same time,because of desperation, they are more willing to work for low pay andlonger workers, and thus, businesses can save on costs(Dustmann, Frattini, and Preston 2013, p. 1).Secondly, another key benefit is that immigrants are composed ofyounger people who are experts in some niches which is an advantagefor business as they can balance their pension contribution.

Thirdly,immigration helps and economy to grow through the production of goodsand services for consumption. Fourthly, the immigration process isone of the core issues in the UK. The UK has experienced increasedgrowth in population caused by immigration. Increase in populationemanated from several factors e.g. availability of variousopportunities like employment, affordable communication systems, andpolitical factors. The key element of people’s mobility is thecost-effective air travel charges which have enabled people to moveeasily to various countries across the globe for business, education,or employment purposes. The fifth importance is that, in the UK,hospitality and migration are directly connected and contributespositively towards the GDP of an economy (PR Newswire 2015, p.1). Theconnection is equally beneficial to help the legislation policymakers to make informed provisions.

Thesixth benefit is concerned with diversity. According to statisticsprovided by the Bureau of Labour Statistic, they estimate that around1.5 million hotel and restaurant workers in the UK are from abroad.It was even reported that one-quarter of the food service managerswere from foreign nationals. The hotel and restaurant sector wasthus, recognized as the hospitality-based industry that has employedpeople from diverse and cross-cultural sections that have originatedfrom varied backgrounds and culture. Another aspect of immigrationconcerns highly skilled personnel. The UK introduced the highlyskilled migrant program (HSMP) to support the highly experiencedmigrant workers (UKImmigration n.d, p. 1). With the implementation ofthe program, the hospitality industry has received a tremendousboost. However, with the establishment of Tier-1, the system replacedthe HSMP. The new plan was meant to cater to the workers’ needssuch as training, work, and study (Joppe 2012, p. 7). These newmethods are established towards the enhancement of the hospitalityand tourism sector.

Impactof migration in hotel industry in the UK

Migrationis the process in which people move from one country to another forvarious reasons such as for tourism, employment, and education (MWUK2016, p.1). The most important migration mobility can be observedwhen tourists move for leisure and vacation. The immigration processin the UK can generate both positive and adverse impact. Thesignificant impact of migration in the UK is on the labour market. Inan attempt to improve the labour market, the government hasintroduced new policies and regulations. The new laws requireemployers in hotel industries to recruit immigrants in the localmarket by enforcing more responsibilities on employers where theyhave to regularly keep and maintain proper and up to date records ofthe migrants.

Asurvey conducted by the British Hospitality Association estimatedthat there are about 7 million people absorbed in the hospitality andtourism sectors, of which, more than 20% are people from abroad(Wadsworth 2015, p. 2). To minimize the impact of migrant workers inthe UK market, the government has established strategies includingraising penalties for law offenders where employers are required toroutinely follow employment regulations when hiring migrants in thecompanies, and that employers should execute a new point-based systemmeant for experienced workers. According to the UK government,employers who employ illegal workers in their establishments will becharged a fine of GBP 20,000 per worker (Gov.UK n.d, p. 1).

Theessential strategy of the government to improve migration regulationsin the country was through the implementation of the new point-basedsystem for experienced workers. The system obliges employers toobtain a license so as to provide jobs for skilled employees. Anorganization with a permit has to receive sponsorship certificate tohire people from abroad if a vacancy is not filled by domesticworkers. Likewise, some requirements need to be satisfied by theimmigrants so as to be recruited in the UK. However, specificexemptions may be necessary for internal transfers and foroccupations that require a large number of workers. The second impactof immigration is that there may be instances where there is anunauthorized movement of refugees into a country. This is a majorshortcoming.

Themigration process has a positive impact on the economy development ofthe UK. The sector contributes more than 3% as GDP for the country(p. 8). The remarkable contribution is attributed to the fact thatthere is increased the availability of business opportunities foramenities such as the hotels, motels tour planners, event`sorganizers, etc. those persons involved in providing these servicesto the visitors, serve the need of the citizens from abroad and alsocreate employment opportunities for them. It is presumed that therevenue of the hospitality industry in the UK is about $ 130 billioneach year (TourismAlliance 2016, p. 1). The industry has alsoemployed at least 2 million people in more than 100,000establishments across the region (BHA 2016, p.1). Thus, the labouremployed by the hospitality and tourism industry in the countryaccounts for greater than 40% of the total (People 1st2006 n.d, p.1).

Thethird impact of immigrants is that a majority of the migrant workersstay into the UK temporarily and then leave for their home countries.As a result, this tends to significantly affect the hospitalitysector. In order to establish ways to correct such situations, thegovernment has suggested that employers should introduce propereducation and training facilities and programs for their workersinstead of relying heavily on their employees (Department of BusinessInnovation &amp Skills 2015, p. 15). Fourthly, the migrant workersin the hospitality industry share similar aims with their Britishcounterparts in terms of long working hours, low pay and otheremployment practices. They have become more desperate hence willingto work under unfavourable conditions. The results of a surveycarried out showed that 20% of immigrants are involved in illegalpractices as they pretend to be students living in the UK rather thanusing their work permit. This gives them an advantage to enter thecountry illegally (Cox 2015, p. 1). Most of these migrants originatefrom the Asia, Middle East, and other European countries. A goodnumber of them are young people who are under the ages of 40(Wadsworth, J., 2015, p. 2). It has been noted that these migrantsare usually students and get employed on casual terms to make moneyduring their gap years. Lastly, the majority of immigrants in the UKare mostly concentrated in the urban areas. However, these days, theyare beginning to spread all over the country and get hired in thecountryside. Migrant workers play a huge role in filling in forpositions in both the urban and the rural regions and therefore,hotel owners and operators depend on immigrants for their services.


Thelabour environment, as well as the manner in which hospitalityservices are provided, creates a substantial amount of strain onhotels to attract, hire and retain competent and professional staffin the long run. Similarly, aggressive competition has become adriving force for employers to minimize costs. The rise in skills andlabour shortage tends to worsen the conditions further as itinfluences the companies to employ workers that are willing to acceptlow salaries, which is to the disadvantage of the quality ofexperience being offered. It is, therefore, essential for the UK toimprove the capacities to measure immigration patterns throughanalyzing country of origin in a manner to determine the educationaland developmental needs and related supports required for themigrants and to involve the employers suitably.

Listof references

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