BBPA: Pubs must capitalise on 'year of celebration'

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: National pubwatch, Executive brigid simmonds, Olympic games, Brigid simmonds

'Year of opportunity ahead,' says Simmonds
'Year of opportunity ahead,' says Simmonds
Britain’s pubs must capitalise on the huge year of celebration in 2012 – without over-zealous councils and regulations getting in the way, said BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds today.

Speaking at the National Pubwatch conference at the Guildhall, London, Simmonds said that the Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and Paralympics, the torch relay, the Cultural Olympiad, and Euro 2012 offered one of the greatest celebration summers Britain has ever seen – and pubs will be right at the heart of it, for both locals and visitors alike.

However, Simmonds added that there were real concerns over red tape and the lack of extra pub opening hours, as pubs need to be able to offer hospitality similar to that seen at big events in other countries.

The Government has already said it does not intend to allow extra hours on the days of the opening and closing Olympic ceremonies – and for the Jubilee this has been granted only on the Friday and Saturday of a long, four-day double-bank holiday celebration.

Simmonds said: “This year the UK hospitality sector will provide a warm welcome to thousands of overseas visitors –and for many tourists, pubs are a ‘must visit’ experience.

"Having a great time will enhance the reputation of the UK and encourage more visitors. With pubs now a home for live sport, pubs will be right at the centre of the games for many people.

“During previous major sporting events I have visited, including the Olympics in Beijing and Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Melbourne and Manchester, there was no evidence of significant disorder.

“Last year’s Royal Wedding was broadcast throughout the world – and extended hours did not result in any problems. Families and communities went to the pub to watch the wedding and enjoy the celebrations together. We have got to get this right, so our doors are open for this great opportunity.”

Simmonds also paid tribute to National Pubwatch. She said: “National Pubwatch is a great organisation which provides support for local Pubwatch schemes across the country.

"We are here to celebrate its role in our communities, supporting its work in sharing good practice, leading to a safer social environment in the UK’s pubs."

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