Written evidence submitted by HF Holidays


Call For Evidence

I am David Harrington and CEO of HF Holidays. HF Holidays is the UKs oldest tour operator and the only co-operative. We own and operate 17 hotels in the UK plus we have a overseas travel business where we operate as a traditional tour operator. Our core activity is guided walking holidays and up to 20% of our business is from overseas. Our membership exceeds 44000 and normal turnover would be £36m a year. We have over 900 volunteers who support us in guiding our guests. Our assets are around £23m in country house hotels.


My suggestions for consideration – and the first two are the ones that are currently having the most impact on our business and would affect our ability to trade - 


  1. The government to support further the crisis in staffing – there needs to be a clear message that hospitality is a career and one that is valued. That message is not getting across.
  2. Brexit has impacted recruitment and retention – consideration for the ability for the employment of EU nationals with visas etc – a simple and supportive system. Reduce the salary cap that is preventing recruitment from overseas.
  3. A national response to covid (and other issues). The devolved nations response to the crisis is causing considerable confusion to operators and guests – safety is key and there needs to be one voice as potential guests do travel around the UK
  4. Support for less popular areas of the UK especially rural areas – G7 last year could have been in another area to showcase that – disruption could have been less (we had to cancel many holidays from our St Ives location for several weeks and got no compensation)
  5. Overseas guests need help with travel across the UK – operators can do this so why not have a recommended list of operators who could help. Most want to use public transport but simply don’t understand how it all works and that is where operators can help. The website displays restaurants etc so why not operators so overseas guests know who to approach.
  6. Extended support for the refund credit notes – i.e., not just ATOL but other bonding companies i.e., ABTOT
  7. Campaign that the UK is safe to visit (noting links to point 3)
  8. Push regional travel hubs for international visitors i.e., Manchester, Glasgow etc
  9. Noting covid has now gone into a third year a delay on CBILS repayment would be appreciated noting challenges that still exist in the industry.
  10. Reach out to organizations as it seems such requests for information or engagement has not been present.
  11. Fully support plans to showcase the UK being available all year – keeping our houses open all year also helps staff retention.

Hope this proves helpful. Happy to discuss further.

David Harrington

CEO HF Holidays