Posted on Friday 23 May 2014 by Ulster Business

Domestic  tourist expenditure to grow by 24% over next four years

Adrian Doran, Head of Corporate Banking for Barclays Northern Ireland

Continued pressure on disposable income means more people will be holidaying at home in the coming years, according to new research from Barclays.

It found expenditure by domestic tourists – those tourists who live in Northern Ireland who holiday in Northern Ireland - will grow by 24% over the next four years and will contribute £462m annually to the economy by 2017.

That growth will be driven by the increasing cost of living which is expected to see holiday makers bypass overseas holiday destinations.

"The economy is improving and confidence is certainly growing, and while this will lead to a gradual rise in the number of consumers looking to holiday abroad again, it is unlikely to precipitate a return to the holidaying habits we were seeing prior to the downturn," Adrian Doran, Head of Corporate Banking for Barclays in Northern Ireland, said.

Northern Ireland's hospitality and leisure sector will benefit most from the trend towards 'staycations' with domestic tourist spend growing to £270 million by 2017, an increase of 25% (from £216 million in 2013).

Restaurants and pubs will see an increase of 25% in spend to £165 million by 2017 as more people dine out. Hotels and B&Bs will see domestic tourist spend rise by 21% to £49 million and leisure attractions a 29% increase to £56 million by 2017.

While high street retailers continue to face stiff competition from the growth of online sales, the sector will still attract a 23% rise in domestic tourist spend by 2017, to £77 million. In particular, it is predicted that expenditure from local consumers will fuel growth in the fashion and home sectors, of 28% and 32% respectively.

"With domestic tourism set to be an area of growth for Northern Ireland's hospitality and retail sectors, those with a clearly targeted strategy will undoubtedly benefit," Mr Doran said. "It is key that operators understand their customer base and crucially how to communicate with them via the channels their clients prefer to use, be it through social media, print advertising, or television and radio. Online channels continue to present a huge opportunity to drive sales and the increasing popularity of search engines and review websites suggests that time and effort would be well spent monitoring and responding to any reviews of their business."

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