Dec 16, 2016
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UK sees record spend from international tourists in November

Dec 16, 2016

International tax free spend increased by a record 41% in the UK in November as overseas tourists continued to take advantage of the favourable exchange rates following the weakened pound. 

Photo: Archive


Tax free spending specialist Global Blue said the November figure follows an increase of the same amount in October, which was also the highest monthly increase in three years.

International shopping spend by visitors coming from outside of the UK has been consistently strong since the EU vote in June. Tourist spend jumped from 7% in July to 37% for August, while September saw a 29% increase.

“We expect to see an influx of tourists both pre and post-Christmas, as international shoppers buy unique British luxury goods to take home as presents,” said Global Blue Managing Director Gordon Clark.

In the year to date, tourist spend has grown by 14%, indicating an overall positive outcome for the retail sector.

November's performance is largely attributed to consistent spend from Asian tourists. Visitors from China spent the most in November and accounted for 25% of the market, while Taiwanese tourists saw the highest increase in spend, up 160% year on year. Hong Kong shoppers followed closely with a spend increase of 127%, and spend from visitors from the United States increased by 88%.

Global Blue expects total UK international tax free spend for to reach double digit growth due to the visitor and spend surge in the second half of the year.

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