CEO Looks Ahead 2014
16 January 2014
2013 showed very positive signs for the economy and whilst this did not translate into cash in real terms for our pub owners, we are hopeful that the continuation of these positive trends will be good for the pub trade in 2014.
There is a feeling that the pub industry – in line with other sectors – has turned a corner over the past 12 months, but this doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a tough year for many licensees.
In spite of the Cathedral Quarter bomb in December, Christmas trade was reasonably good. Belfast showed an increase in activity from as early as September. Other areas such as Derry were slower to pick up but did so from the end of November and performed well throughout the Christmas season. This upturn did however require a lot of investment from pubs, such as additional entertainment to pull in the customers.
In terms of legislation we look forward to the swift progression of the Licensing of Pavement Cafes Bill throughout the Assembly and also look towards the reform of liquor licensing. Whilst we recognise the need for appropriate regulation of the industry, we also need to be able to move with the times to compete as an international tourist destination by making the pub more appealing than a night in – breathing life back into our city and town centres and improving the night time economy in Northern Ireland.
Pubs of Ulster are encouraged by all of the above but are also keen to demonstrate what the great Ulster pub can offer and will be promoting this great industry with a celebration of Ulster’s pub tradition in the coming months.