History of the Institute of Hospitality

The Institute of Hospitality renamed on 2 April 2007 was previously known as the Hotel & Catering International Management Association (HCIMA). The Institute of Hospitality represents professional managers in the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries and has a worldwide membership with members represented in all sectors of the industry including hotels, contract catering, restaurants, pubs and clubs, as well as leisure outlets, theme parks and sports venues. The Institute of Hospitality is managed as an educational charity, and exists to benefit its members in their career and professional development, as well as continuing to improve industry sector standards. The primary purpose of the Institute of Hospitality is to promote the highest professional standards of management and education in the international hospitality, leisure and tourism industries.


Prior to 1971, there were two professional bodies in the catering industry - the Hotel and Catering Institute (HCI, created 1949) and the Institutional Management Association (IMA created 1938). The HCI's membership was predominantly drawn from the commercial sector of the industry while the IMA's were largely from the non profit making 'welfare sector' - schools, hospitals and residential establishments. It was obvious that the industry needed a strong professional body to represent its interests as a whole. In 1970 a joint commission, PACT (Partnership Action Committee) was set up to consider the strategy of 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 single professional body. After a series of meetings and a vote by members of both organisations, a decision was finally reached.

In 1971 the HCIMA was formed with Nat Abrahams (president of the HCI) and Doris Hatfield (chairman of IMA) becoming the first joint national presidents. Once established, the HCIMA set out to accomplish its objectives, to improve its image, promote standards and to attain recognition as a professional body. Today, with a new name reflecting its membership, the Institute of Hospitality spans the entire industry, reflecting issues, views and needs across all sectors.