Return to hospitality

[28th May] Finally, and I hope we’re not jinxing things here, we have some good weather in the forecast and long may it continue. Summer holidays are looming, and with foreign travel still a big unknown many people are settling in for a holiday closer to home.

In the third set of insights from our most recent study, conducted with our partners FN Research, we’ve delved into audience thoughts around travel and tourism.

Restaurants and bars opened for indoor dining this week, delighting the 63% of adults in Belfast who agreed they were looking forward to eating out this summer. In particular, this was important to ABC1 audiences, where the figure rose to 71%. Almost half of all adults will eat out as frequently as they did pre-Covid.

People are also excited to return to bars, especially younger audiences. 66% of those aged 18-24 are excited to go out again, with 48% of all adults in agreement. 67% of this younger audience (18-24’s) are planning to visit bars as frequently as prior to the Covid pandemic.

Over half of adults (55%) would feel safe visiting a bar or restaurant, 53% would feel safe in a hotel or an indoor tourist attraction and 59% would feel safe in self-catered accommodation.

Cinemas also reopened on Monday to the delight of many, with 41% planning a visit as soon as they could after reopening. 48% of all adults said they would feel safe in the cinema, rising to 71% of 35-44-year olds.

Almost half of all adults in Belfast (48%) have plans to visit an outdoor tourist attraction as soon as they reopen, demonstrating the appetite to enjoy different experiences and locations.

When it comes to holidays this summer, almost one quarter (24%) of people in Belfast are still hoping to visit foreign shores, while 23% plan to holiday in ROI and 34% are staying in Northern Ireland. When asked about safety concerns over flying, there was little difference in safety worries between short haul (under 90 minutes) or long haul (90 minutes and over), with 39% and 36% respectively feeling safe on board.

Safety has been a major concern for many throughout the last year, and it’s clear from our research that audiences will still cite this as a key decision-making factor.

Unfortunately for those working in the tourism and hospitality sectors in NI and ROI, the key reason people said they wouldn’t holiday at home is completely uncontrollable and unpredictable; 46% would be put off by the weather.