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Rise in active leisure tourism benefits hospitality sector

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A rise in ‘active leisure’ tourism is giving the hospitality and leisure sector a boost, according to a new report by Barclays.

The Barclays Business Barometer, which focusses on large businesses, reveals 65% of respondents agree that active leisure tourism – driven by physical activities such as cycling, running or walking holidays – has surged in popularity in recent years. More than seven in ten (71%) hospitality businesses have linked this trend to an increase in ‘foot’-traffic to their venues.

According to the data, active leisure tourists have been bigger spenders while on holiday this summer, with businesses agreeing that they were more likely to pay more on retail (37%), drinks (35%), accommodation (32%) and dining (31%) when compared to the average consumer.

As a result of this growing trend, large businesses in the UK are feeling buoyant about the economy, with more than three-quarters (76%) optimistic about their own prospects, and 59% feeling positive about the wider UK economy. 

Business revenues this quarter are expected to increase 21% year-on-year – an increase of around £14.9m in revenues per business surveyed on average – with more than two-thirds (67%) of UK corporates planning high levels of investment over the next 12 months.

In fact, the average large business has already invested more than £1 in every five over the last year in targeting active leisure customers, through initiatives like offering dedicated accommodations (such as shower facilities or bike racks), interior design upgrades or new product ranges. 

David Farrow, head of UK corporate banking at Barclays, said: “The surge in popularity of active leisure holidays in the UK has been a boon for large businesses, particularly in the hospitality and leisure sector. As many more of us visit historic sites and go on more walking trips and cycling tours, businesses in every corner of the country have the opportunity to feel the benefits of these dynamic and growing categories of leisure.

“This is reflected in the positive outlook displayed by the UK’s larger businesses, who expect growth both for themselves and for the wider UK economy.”

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