Posted on August 25, 2016

Qataris are making the most of the weaker pound in the wake of Brexit and are spending more than £1,600 per transaction on tax free shopping in the UK, a new report has revealed. Average spend per transaction by Qataris visiting the UK in July was £1,643 ($2,171), up 12 percent on the year-earlier period, well ahead of Emiratis whose average spend was £983, a fall of 11 percent.

Saudis also increased their spending following Brexit at £885, up 16 percent, while Kuwaiti spending also rose by 5 percent to £575, according to retail tourism experts, Global Blue. The report said Qatari tax free shopping spend for July rose by 29 percent compared to July 2015, while Emiratis spending increased by 4 percent. Spending by Kuwaitis and Saudis fell by 5 percent and 3 percent respectively. The report said the UK has enjoyed a wave of income from tourist spending as visitors enjoy the weaker pound in the wake of Brexit. A 7 percent overall increase in UK international tax free shopping spend in July has been recorded, with Asian nations and the US largely responsible for the positive cash injection. 

Japan, Indonesia and the US were the visiting nations that accounted for the biggest increase in UK international tax free spend for July. Despite Japan’s economic woes, spend by Japanese visitors was up 96 percent in the UK compared to July 2015, while travellers from Indonesia spent 88 percent more than last year. Chinese tourists’ spend in the UK was up just 6 percent for July, but the nation still accounted for the largest portion of spend overall, with a 32 percent share of the total spend. Travellers from the US – who in July were the second largest nationality shopping tax free in the UK, with a 7 percent share of the total spend – also capitalised on the Great British Pound to United States Dollar exchange rate. This led to their sales in store increasing by 46 percent. 

Gordon Clark, managing director UK and Ireland for Global Blue said: “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.” 

According to VisitBritain’s 2015 statistics, July to September was the most popular season for international travellers to the UK.

source: Arabian Business