Despite the financial climate, more and more people are choosing to spend what spare cash they have on entertainment, a fact borne out by recent sell-out Peter Kay gigs at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena.
Despite falling into decline in recent years, the Odyssey is back on the up again with the announcement of the reopening of the bowling alley by Movie House Cinemas.
The Odyssey Arena has also signed a new deal with the world’s biggest venue operator. The renewed contract between Odyssey Trust and SMG includes a £5m investment upgrade of the complex.
Junction One in Antrim is also celebrating the forthcoming addition of a new £3m ten-screen Omniplex cinema.
The development is expected to create up to 60 part-time and full-time jobs and is set to open in in early summer 2011.
And Dundonald meanwhile, has become an unlikely premier leisure destination.
Castlereagh Borough Council estimates the Dundonald Ice Bowl, including the outdoor Pirates Crazy Golf and David Lloyd leisure and ten pin bowling centre, attracts 500,000 visitors every year.
The new £18m Eastpoint entertainment village, which opened 18 months ago, will also be a huge draw. Entertainment mogul Bill Wosley is another flying high — his Merchant Hotel and Little Wing pizza chain are booming and he has plans for a traditional music centre in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter and a new four star hotel on High Street.
While other industries are clouded in economic gloom, savvy businesses realise punters relish the chance to cheer themselves up — and are giving them somewhere to do it.