A weak pound and the allure of British luxury goods have been attracting overseas shoppers in the run-up to the holy month of Ramadan which starts 27 May and finishes on 24 June.
Prior to Ramadan, travellers from countries including United Arab Emirates [UAE], Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, traditionally take a holiday before the month-long religious commitment.
As a result, tourist spend by Middle Eastern visitors grew by 8% in April and 12% for the year to date compared to 2016, according to tax free shopping experts, Global Blue.
Overall, tourist spend in the UK increased 38% in April year-on-year, the tenth consecutive month of growth. The increase was in large due to increased activity from China, the UK’s single largest non-EU tourist market as visitor spend increased by 81%. Another key UK market, the US, increased 56%, while Hong Kong visitors’ spend grew 50%.
Gordon Clark, Global Blue managing director UK and Ireland, said: “Middle Eastern visitors have continued to make travel decisions to the UK in the face of low oil prices and, consequently, reduced economic growth forecasts.
“The favourable exchange rates have, without doubt, encouraged visitors’ UK purchasing behaviour, as well as the market’s sincere appreciation for British luxury goods accompanied by a high level of service.”