Business confidence among Europe's hotels and restaurants has increased by more than 20% in the past year, a new report has found.
A survey for American Express found that more than three-quarters of operators in Europe felt more confident about the outlook for their business in the next 12 months than they did a year ago.
Confidence among restaurateurs was particularly strong, with a third of those surveyed excited about the future compared with less than a quarter a year ago.
The findings fly in the face of recent research by the Meat and Livestock Commission and analyst firm FMCG that warned of a decline in eating-out as interest rate and rising utility bills hurt the publics' wallets.
British Hospitality Association chief executive Bob Cotton said: "While overall confidence within the hospitality industry is on the rise, this is concentrated in city centres, particularly in London, where confidence levels are soaring."
"The challenge for the industry going forward, in addition to managing both competition and changing customer preferences, will be how to sustain growth in conjunction with delivering socially and environmentally sustainable policies," said Cotton.
By Kerstin Kühn