Hospitality Today Spring 2017 - Page 10

10 | Hospitality Today | Spring 2017 VisitEngland awards star- rating contract to the AA Industry concerns about AA ‘monopoly’ VisitEngland announced on 10 April that the contract to run the VisitEngland Quality Assessment Schemes under licence for the next three years has been awarded to the AA (trading as VisitEngland Assessment Services). Some industry figures have raised questions about this creating a “monopoly” on assessment services. VisitEngland (VE) Chief Executive Sally Balcombe (right) said: “I am delighted to announce this contract which guarantees the standards and expectations our scheme participants have come to expect whilst maintaining continuity of service and also matching our ambitions to develop the schemes further and add value.” The AA has more than 100 years’ experience inspecting and rating hotels and guest accommodation across the UK and follows the same common standards used by VisitEngland and the national tourist boards in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. VE said that the VisitEngland Quality Assessment Schemes “will remain separate to the AA’s existing assessment schemes and participants will continue to be able to choose between the VisitEngland and AA accommodation schemes. All current ratings, logos, marques and accolades remain unchanged and there will be no discernible change for participants.” The AA’s Head of Hotel Services, Andrew Oxley (right) said: “Being awarded the licence to run the VisitEngland schemes is the start of an exciting new chapter in our history. For the last 20 years we have worked together closely in developing the common standards, and we now look forward to supporting VisitEngland’s aims of helping a wide range of tourism businesses grow in quality and profitability.”