Pubs need to improve service standards for international visitors warns VisitEngland chief

By Gurjit Degun

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pubs, All-party parliamentary save, Olympic games, Roger protz

Licensees need to do more to improve service in pubs to accommodate international visitors — that’s according to VisitEngland chief executive James Beresford.

Speaking at the All-Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group meeting in Parliament ahead of the Olympic Games, Beresford said that around 25% of pubs need to do more to offer better service to tourists, who have high expectations.

He said: “I would just say one thing by way of warning. We have to up our game. The international visitor expects a very high level of service and I would say 75% of our pubs do that, but some of our pubs do not do it very well.
“But for them to have a genuine lasting role in tourism, we have to offer visitors the very best in service and the very best in character.”

Beer writer Roger Protz said that tourist boards could have done more to promote pubs as part of the Olympics this summer. He said: “There’s so much good going on in this country with beer and brewing but it is never promoted.”
In response to the current adverts at London stations about travel delays, Protz added: “Why don’t the adverts say, ‘If your train is delayed, go to the pub.’

“There just seems to be a slight nervousness about promoting pubs, as though they are bad places.

“But we know, and both the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary have said, that they are places people should go to because that’s where people drink sensibly and moderately.”

British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Brigid Simmonds added: “Pubs have to be seen to be part of hospitality and tourism, rather than alcohol.

“Because if they are seen as part of alcohol, they are viewed as a problem.”

She added that the BBPA is working with VisitEngland to introduce a Pubs are Great poster, as part of the Holidays at Home are Great campaign.

Simmonds told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser: “We can never rest on our laurels when it comes
to standards of service. We must do more to promote training and careers in hospitality.

“That’s why the BII’s [British Institute of Innkeeping’s]  work in encouraging apprenticeships is so important, and the whole industry needs to get behind this.

“The Government and London authorities should tell people to go to the pub, enjoy the Games and beat the bottlenecks.

“I am pleased Transport for London boss Peter Hendy has done that. Pubs are a great place to enjoy the Games in, and it is a real opportunity to boost trade among visitors and locals.”

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