UK hospitality sector fears negative economic impact of a Brexit vote

The UK hospitality industry believes a vote to leave the EU would have a negative impact on the economy, a new survey reveals.

The survey, carried out by hospitality data provider RPBI, found that 44% of respondents believed Britain leaving the EU would have a negative effect on the economy – regardless of how they planned to vote.

However, those planning to vote to leave believed the effects would be short-term.

Overall, 49% of participants said they planned to vote to leave in the referendum on June 23, 43% that they would vote remain and 7% that they were undecided. The survey canvassed all sectors of the hospitality industry, with 1,915 people taking part.

A small majority of participants, 38%, said Britain leaving the EU would have no impact on investment in the hospitality sector, while 36% said they thought there would be decreased investment, 13.5% that there would be increased investment, and 12% that they didn’t know.

Older respondents were more likely to be in the leave camp, with 50% of those over 55 saying they would vote to leave, compared to just 26% of those aged 25-34. Men were more likely than women to vote to leave, at 50% compared to 46%, while twice as many women were undecided.

The survey revealed regional differences, with participants in Wales the most likely to vote to leave, at 64.3%. Those in London were most likely to vote to remain, with 62.5% stating that they planned to.

The majority of respondents, which included business owners and senior management, did not think a vote to leave would make a difference to recruitment. 51% thought there would be no impact, while 34% said it would become more difficult, 7% that it would be easier and 8.5% that they didn’t know. 

Keith Britten, director of RPBI, said: “It will be important for companies and trade bodies to watch the developments and the potential impact on hospitality closely and to react as one industry.”