Favourable exchange rates drive 23% boost in tourist spending

Favourable exchange rates drive 23% boost in tourist spending

Spending by tourists to the UK in December increased by 23% as Asian and American Christmas shoppers took advantage of favourable exchange rates.

This helped boost the full year performance to double digit growth of 14%, new figures released today by tax free shopping firm Global Blue reveal.

This beat a growth level of just two per cent in 2015 and a downturn the previous year.

“Last year’s double digit increase is an injection of positivity for retail tourism operators who are enjoying Brexit’s continued benefit of increased foreign spend due to the fallen pound,” the company said.

Chinese shoppers, the group accounting for the largest portion of UK international spend, spent 46% more than December 2015 and visitors from the US – the second biggest spending nation – saw spend rise by 77%.

Global Blue UK and Ireland managing director Gordon Clark said the increased presence of visiting nations such as Taiwan is a direct benefit of the weak pound, which has inspired worldwide travel to the UK.

He said: “Although the UK has always been a top destination for global travelers, historically our strong currency has been a barrier for many with a desire to visit.

“The weakened pound has extended the opportunity to a wider group of travellers who have made the most of the favourable exchange rates allowing them to visit the UK and enjoy our abundance of British shopping and leisure activities at the heart of our culture.

“This exposure and accessibility has been invaluable and the Brexit vote was undoubtedly a key contributor to the industry’s 2016 growth, but whilst we welcome the immediate boost and exposure, we are yet to understand the decision’s long-term implications.”

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