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HBAA kicks off 2017 with clear plans for Moving Forward despite challenges of likely Brexit changes

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Louise Goalen, the new Chair of the HBAA outlined a clear strategy to keep the Association ‘Moving Forward’ in her opening address when she took office at a packed AGM and Kick- Off meeting at the Hilton London Bankside.

With new HBAA Venues Chair Louisa Watson, Louise Goalen announced to a capacity audience of almost 200 members that the HBAA’s strategy to keep Moving Forward in the second year of its five year plan would include updating the HBAA Code of Practice, developing its International Forum, research projects, white papers, surveys and expanding its training activities. Specific focus will be given to engaging with member agencies of all sizes and to making the most of technology. The Association will also be celebrating its twentieth anniversary.

Each HBAA Committee Chairman briefly summarised their Committee’s objectives for the year before Louise Goalen thanked the outgoing Chair, Leigh Cowlishaw, for guiding the association through its “Back to Basics” year, adding; “I am delighted to have been appointed chair to carry on the baton. Along with the whole of the Executive Committee we are relishing the year ahead and delivering on our objectives.”

Anthony Hilton, Financial Editor of the Evening Standard presented his fascinating economic forecasts for the year ahead, predicting an overall positive year for the British economy. However, reflecting on the impact of Brexit, restrictions on the movement of labour and possible skills quotas, he expressed a major concern about future staff shortages in the UK hotel and hospitality sector in which, according to Louise Goalen, up to 70 per cent of current staff are not British. He advised; “You need to start preparing for the future now!”

At the Kick Off meeting and Annual Dinner Louisa Watson spoke about the HBAA’s two-year partner, Beyond Food, an impressive organisation which inspires people who are at risk of or who have experienced homelessness to gain meaningful employment, particularly in the catering and hospitality sectors. The spectacular evening event, enjoyed by 375 members and sponsors, raised £19,500, prompting Poppy Trewhella of Beyond Food to thank the HBAA, adding: “The money will make such a difference to the people we help.”

Louisa Watson summed up the day: “What a fantastic turn out for the AGM, Kick off and Dinner.  I was delighted to be a part of it representing the amazing venues that form part of the HBAA membership.  2017 represents exciting, challenging and changing times for the industry but we will be Moving Forward together!”

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