Brexit helps boost hotels as insolvencies plunge

Fewer hotels are said to be in trouble, thanks to the referendum

The number of UK hotel insolvencies has dropped by 18%, according to new research by accountancy firm Moore Stephens.

The study shows that less than 1% of hotels in the country are at risk of becoming insolvent, due to a post-Brexit boost in tourism.

The drop in the value of the pound brought a 9% increase in international visitors in the first half of the year, statistics from the Office of National Statistics showed.

The UK has also seen an increase in the number of people choosing to take staycations and the number of inbound visitors has reached record numbers.

Moore Stephens pointed out that despite the boost in tourism, Brexit has lead to uncertainty in the hotel sector with regard to staffing.

A KPMG report commissioned by the BHA earlier this year revealed that 24% of the industry’s current workforce is made up of EU workers.

The firm also said that the increase in minimum wage, the introduction of the apprenticeship levy and the growing threat of Airbnb were other factors impacting the industry.

As well as this, the outcome of the Competition and Markets Authority’s investigation into hotel booking websites are yet to be realised.

Vincent Wood, partner and head of hotels at Moore Stephens, said: “Brexit hasn’t come without its challenges for the hotel sector, however. They are, for example, the impact of staff shortages as the flow of European nationals – who make up a large proportion of their staff – into the UK reduces.

“The potential drying of this vital reservoir of staff is a problem hotels have faced for many years and it will be a real challenge for them in the coming period.”

Jeremy Willmont, partner and head of restructuring and insolvency at Moore Stephens, added: “Hotel businesses have been dealt a great hand with Brexit. The weaker pound has had the dual effect of attracting more overseas visitors to the UK – as well as encouraging UK nationals to holiday at home, rather than going abroad.

“The key for hotel businesses is to not take the current upturn for granted and ensure that costs do not get out of hand.”

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