Northern Ireland

'Remarkable' boom for NI hospitality sector

Angela McGowan
Image caption Ms McGowan said the growth in the hospitality sector was "remarkable".

People staying at home rather than going on holiday is helping to boost the local economy, according to a report by the Northern Bank.

Hospitality as well as manufacturing, agriculture and retail are all still growing despite a weak recovery overall, the report adds.

Northern Bank economist Angela McGowan said that construction and financial services were contracting.

The bank is forecasting annual growth of 1% for 2010 and 1.8% for 2011.

Following the publication of the "Quarterly Sectoral Forecasts" report, Ms McGowan said that rebalancing the economy from public to private sector growth is "no longer an aspiration, but a necessity".

The report says that 2.5% growth in manufacturing was a scale of growth not seen since 2005, with 700 new jobs created.

The hospitality sector, the report adds, also saw strong employment data with growth projected at 3.6% for 2010.

The report states: "The growth in hospitality is actually rather remarkable considering the pressures on consumers and that the visitor numbers do not fully confirm this observation.

"However, the 'stay at home' holiday phenomenon is definitely on the increase and going forward this sector could also benefit from weaker sterling in the last quarter of this year."

It adds that despite growth of 1.4% in business services, the figure was "disappointing" and could be attributed to real estate and recruitment dragging down the overall average.

The report also delivers a stark warning of the prospects for the public administration sector.

It says that it is likely to contract by roughly 0.9% this year and "then follow a downward path for a number of years".

It adds: "There is a possibility of a rapid contraction for public administration but given the costs associated with redundancies, it is much more likely to be an orderly and steady reduction through natural wastage for this sector."

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