Leisure businesses in the county must offer customers the chance to experience Lancashire to make the most of a new spending trend.

Alison Tootill, Station Director at the region’s biggest radio station, Smooth Radio, said new research showed Britons are increasingly ditching big ticket items in favour of little and often spending on experiences.

The study by accountancy firm Deloitte showed activities such as visits to restaurants and cafes were the leisure activities which 95% of 3,000 people surveyed had spent money on in the first quarter of the year.

But, it also showed that a large amount of people were spending their money on in-home leisure, a market now worth an estimated £5.8 billion.

Alison Tootill said: “Leisure is no longer exclusively something people leave their homes to do and it is important to recognise that.

“Whether it is streaming films or television or listening to music at home, technology means people have a lot more choice around how they spend their disposable income these days.

“But, what leisure businesses in Lancashire have in their favour is the ability to offer experiences which people could only get by visiting locations in the county.”

The station director led the judging panel for the Leisure Business of the Year category of the Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, which sees eight Lancashire businesses competing to be named the best in the county.

The finalists include the Sandcastle Water Park and Winter Gardens venue in Blackpool, Preston Grasshoppers RFC and the Clifton Buying Group, which is involved in a range of sectors including hospitality, retail and healthcare.

Alison added: “You can see from the quality of applicants to the Leisure Business of the Year category exactly what Lancashire has to offer.

“Not only does it have the quality which can keep the sector thriving, it has enough diversity to ensure it can keep adapting to what consumers want.”

The BIBAs has selected the winners of the 19 prizes which will be handed out at its prize-giving ceremony at The Blackpool Tower on Friday, September 16.

Its judging panels have selected the winners of its 17 main prize categories while winners have also been selected for its Most Inspiring Young Person Award and its lifetime achievement prize, Lancastrian of the Year.

The Most Inspiring Young Person Award winner has been selected from names put forward by successful applications to its BIBAs Foundation, the awards’ charitable arm set up to award grants to groups behind youth enterprise.

This award was selected by a panel made up of Foundation sponsor, BAE Systems, the Community Foundation for Lancashire, which runs the charity with the BIBAs, and current Lancastrian of the Year, Ian Hall, chairman of Preston-based retail group, James Hall and Sons.