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Sharp rebound for hospitality and leisure sector

New research by Barclays Corporate Banking reveals that the hospitality and leisure industry could contribute £3.5bn more to the nation’s GDP this year than in 2019.

In Leisure Rediscovered, Barclays’ data shows that the vast majority of hospitality and leisure businesses (94 per cent) are confident about their growth prospects for this year following a post-lockdown surge in trade. Based on projected sales figures for the period from April to December 2021, when the hospitality sector has largely been open again, this equates to £3.5bn more in Gross Value Added (GVA) than in the equivalent period in 2019.

The research reveals new patterns in the way people are accessing hospitality and leisure services and changing consumer habits. For example, although restrictions on foreign travel have eased substantially in the past couple of weeks, staycation tourism could be here to say with nearly half (45 per cent) of consumers prioritising UK holidays over those abroad. 

Barclays Corporate Banking estimates that, if a preference for UK holidays continues at the same rate in 2022, it will add up to £9.2bn to the domestic tourism market.

The report also shows that significant numbers of consumers are prioritising hospitality and leisure products that offer health and wellbeing benefits, strong sustainability credentials, or which come with particularly strong safety and hygiene standards.

On average, consumers are prepared to pay 19.9 per cent extra for healthier food and drink options, and 17.8 per cent for holiday accommodation that includes health and wellbeing services such as a gym or spa. More than nine in ten (91 per cent) of hospitality and leisure operators are now prioritising ‘healthy’ products among their portfolios.

Many consumers are expressing strong preferences for services that are safe and hygienic. Customers would pay an extra 20 per cent, on average, to eat and drink in venues with particularly strong standards. The 16-to-24 age group would pay an average of 39 per cent extra, while those aged 25 to 35 would pay 33 per cent more.

“After a very difficult period for the hospitality sector, it is great to see how well the sector has bounced back. Our findings show an industry brimming with confidence and buoyed by surging revenues,” said Mike Saul, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays Corporate Banking.

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