Brexit a 'disaster' for hospitality but good for property investment

The U.K. hospitality industry may suffer a manpower crunch in the aftermath of a Brexit, a hotelier warned Thursday.

"It's going to be very difficult for the hotel industry to employ staff that are all U.K.-based," Aron Harilela, chairman and chief executive of Hong Kong-based Harilela Hotels told CNBC's "Squawk Box".

The group owns a 85-room hotel in London staffed by 82 employees, of whom just five were not EU citizens, he said.

At around 5 percent, the U.K. employment rate was the lowest in seven years, so it's "not as if jobs are being taken away (by EU citizens). In my opinion, for my industry, it would be a disaster."

Christopher Furlong | Getty Images

A referendum later in the global day on Thursday will decide whether Britain remains within or leaves the European Union (EU).

As for the impact on the broader economy should Brexit happen, Harilela said he did not anticipate a massive change other than the British pound falling and intense negotiations with the EU over the next three years.

Those looking to invest in U.K. property, however, will likely be in an advantageous position as the pound depreciates, he added.

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