BHA appoints new chairman, Nick Varney

Nick Varney's first priority as British Hospitality Association chair is going to be raising awareness among every political party of tourism and hospitality's importance to employment and the economy, the Association says.

Alan Parker, CBE, is set to leave the role of chair on January 1st, with the Association announcing earlier this month that Mr Varney will replace him.

Mr Varney has said that he is taking on the chair position during a period when it's very important "the industry voice is heard at a political level".

He said that the Association has done great work so far building relationships and boosting the profile of important issues impacting hospitality and tourism businesses.  

"Now with a General Election imminent we have a very short window of time to build on this, and to make sure that the economic and social importance of the hospitality and tourism sector is understood by all political parties; and that our issues are on their agenda for the future," he added.

He outlined central challenges such as the 20 per cent tourism VAT rate.

Mr Varney is the chief executive officer at Merlin Entertainment. As BHA chair, he will be part of the Board of Directors at the association, and will work alongside Ufi Ibrahim, BHA chief executive officer, and the association's executive team.

Current BHA president Alan Parker will still be in this role once Varney takes over as chair.

Mr Varney is already spearheading tourism tax lowering campaign Cut Tourism VAT.