Aug 22, 2016
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Brexit boosts tax free spend in UK in July

Aug 22, 2016

The Brexit vote affected tourism spend in the UK positively in July. That is the conclusion by tax free expert Global Blue, which says international tax free spend was boosted by 7% in July.

This was mainly due to the weaker pound in the wake of the Brexit vote. Spend by Japanese visitors was up 96% in the UK compared to July 2015, while travellers from Indonesia spent 88% more than last year on International Tax Free shopping. China accounted for the largest portion of spend overall, with a 32% share of the total spend, but spend in the UK was up just 6% for July. However, average spend for July by Chinese shoppers increased by 13% to £840 per transaction.

US visitors were the second largest nationality shopping Tax Free in the UK in the month, with a 7% share of the total spend. Their sales in store from tax free shopping increased by 46%, and there was a 22% increase in their average spend to £734. Visitors from Hong Kong followed closely in third position, with a 6% share of total spend in the UK and a 29% increase in their sales in store.

A late start to Ramadan saw a smaller growth in July from Middle Eastern visitors – Qatar at +29% and UAE at +4%. This is predicted to contribute to a strong August, however, and Qatar still remained the nation with the highest average spend per transaction for July, at £1,642.

Gordon Clark, Managing Director UK and Ireland for Global Blue, says: “Though the weaker pound following the referendum was initially unwelcome news, it has proved perfect timing for tourists visiting the UK; enjoying our 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 through Global Blue.”

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