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Brexit boost for tourists visiting UK as tax free spending rises

Published 22/08/2016

The weaker pound following the EU referendum has helped tourist visiting the UK
The weaker pound following the EU referendum has helped tourist visiting the UK

A weaker pound in the wake of the Brexit vote has led to a 7% increase in tax free shopping by tourists, according to new figures.

That was the international tax free spend in stores across the UK for July compared to the same time in the previous year, according to Global Blue tax free shopping network.

Spending from Chinese tourists accounted for 32% of the total, the largest from any nationality. Their average spend was about £840 per transaction.

Travellers from the US made the most of the exchange rate and were the second largest spenders. They accounted for a 7% share of the total spend and an average payout of £734.

Hong Kong travellers followed closely in third position with a 6% share of total spend in the UK.

Global Blue believe that the start of Ramadan may have softened the growth in spending from Middle Eastern visitors but it still did not put them off from ringing up large amounts at the tills.

Travellers from Qatar had the highest average spend per transaction at £1,642 in July.

Gordon Clark, Global Blue's managing director for UK and Ireland, said: "Though the weaker pound following the referendum was initially unwelcome news, it has proved perfect timing for tourists visiting the UK, enjoying the British leisure, luxury and cultural offering during the summer season.

"The cash injection we have seen off the back of this has been hugely beneficial for our tourism economy. As the pound still fluctuates, we hope the flurry of tourist activity to the UK has inspired others to follow suit and visit and shop in the UK, where they can see a large discount from exchange rate benefits, but also from tax free shopping."

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