Page last updated at 04:17 GMT, Thursday, 8 January 2009

Poor service 'risks tourism jobs'

Fawlty Towers
Fawlty standards at British hotels will not be tolerated by guests in 2009

Poor service could cost thousands of jobs in the recession, Britain's tourism chief has said.

Visit Britain chairman Christopher Rodrigues said he feared foreign tourists would be put off by low standards in hotels and restaurants.

Mr Rodrigues told the Independent that the downturn meant establishments could no longer get away with shoddy service.

He said poor standards could contribute to some of the 50,000 anticipated job losses in the industry this year.

'Threadbare towels'

Mr Rodrigues said: "We've had a period in which people could get away with not being of the highest quality.

"We're now in an environment where you have to do quality. Poor value for money and poor service costs jobs and will cost more jobs in a recession.

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"Threadbare towels, a previously owned bar of soap and a grumpy person who says 'we don't do breakfast before 8am and we don't do it after 8.12am' - you don't get a lot of happy customers."

Mr Rodrigues, who represents tourism in England, Scotland and Wales, estimated earnings from tourism would fall by 4bn during the recession.

Visit Britain will launch a 6.5m campaign in April aimed at persuading overseas visitors that Britain can offer value for money.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Culture Secretary Andy Burnham are holding a summit with British tourism leaders on Thursday in Liverpool.

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