History of the Institute of Hospitality

The Institute of Hospitality is the professional body for global hospitality managers and aspiring managers. Previously known as the Hotel & Catering International Management Association (HCIMA), the Institute was renamed on 2 April 2007.

The Institute represents individual managers in all sectors of the industry including accommodation, food service, restaurants, pubs and clubs, and academia as well as leisure outlets, theme parks, and sports venues.

Managed as an educational charity, the Institute of Hospitality exists to benefit its members in their career and professional development as well as continuing to improve the highest industry standards. 


Prior to 1971, there were two professional bodies in the UK catering industry - the Hotel and Catering Institute (HCI, established in 1949) and the Institutional Management Association (IMA, established in 1938). The HCI's membership was predominantly drawn from the commercial sector of the industry while the IMA's were largely from the not-for-profit sector: schools, hospitals and residential establishments.

As the sectors expanded - and managers' roles with them - it became obvious that the industry's supervisors, managers and educators needed a strong professional body to represent their interests and support education, quality standards and professionalism in the sectors.

A joint commission, PACT (Partnership Action Committee) was set up in 1970 to consider bringing together the HCI and the IMA to form a single professional organisation for the entire industry. PACT prepared a proposal document, 'Towards Unity', which detailed the aims and objectives of the new professional body. After a series of meetings and a vote by the members of both organisations, a decision was finally reached.

In 1971 the Hotel and Catering Institutional Management Association (HCIMA) was formed with Nat Abrahams (president of the HCI) and Doris Hatfield (chairman of the IMA) becoming the first joint national presidents. Once established, the HCIMA set out to accomplish its objectives: to improve the image of industry managers, promote industry standards and to attain recognition as a professional body. Later, the HCIMA name was updated to replace 'Institutional' with 'International' to better reflect the HCIMA's increasingly global membership.

Today, with a new name reflecting its broad membership, the Institute of Hospitality continues to educate and inform managers at all levels, around the world, through the provision of cutting-edge online resources and industry-based knowledge. The Institute of Hospitality is increasingly relevant as the trusted professional body for those who want to build successful and fulfilling hospitality management careers.