Scottish leisure industry bouncing back with £250m bonus for economy, reckon Barclays

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THE hospitality and leisure industry is thriving again and could contribute £250m more to the Scottish economy this year than in 2019.

That’s the upbeat conclusion of new research by Barclays Corporate Banking published today.

The research suggests that 93% of Scotland’s hospitality and leisure businesses are confident about their growth prospects for this year.

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The research reveals new patterns in the way people are spending their leisure time.

Staycation tourism could be here to say with more than half (52%) of consumers in Scotland prioritising UK holidays over those abroad.

The most popular destinations are the Lake District, the South West of England and the Scottish Highlands.

Barclays estimates that, if a preference for UK holidays continues at the same rate in 2022, it will add up to £9.2bn to the UK’s 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 in Scotland are prepared to pay 17.4% extra for healthier food and drink options, and 15.8% for holiday accommodation that includes health and wellbeing services.

Scottish customers would pay an extra 18.6%, on average, to eat and drink in venues with particularly strong hygiene standards.

Mike Saul, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays Corporate Banking, said: “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.”

Saul added: “However, it is also an industry that is undergoing a substantial amount of change – from the customers it serves to the products it sells.

“We have uncovered strong evidence that, particularly for younger customers, operators will need to place increased focus on healthy, sustainable and safe product ranges and to maintain investment in data and technology.”

Other findings from the report show that, across the UK:

  • Tech is a firmly rooted part of the sector’s proposition: 36% of businesses are earning more from ecommerce than ever
  • Collaboration is one of the big success stories of the pandemic, with 88% of operators now joining forces with their local peers to share data and offer joint deals
  • 42% of spas are seeing more men come through their doors and more younger customers are using holiday lets (47%) and holiday parks (40%)
  • The lure of local hospitality is strong: 41% of consumers say they are now more drawn to go out for entertainment in their local neighbourhoods than further afield
  • The delivery boom has not subsided since the pandemic, with four in ten businesses reporting continued popularity of home delivery and click-and-collect services.

The survey was carried out in late July and early August and questioned 524 senior managers in hospitality and leisure businesses with 10 or more employees.

Across the UK, 2,008 adults were questioned.