Brexit boosts tourist spend by nearly 50%

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The weak pound has made Britain’s high streets an increasingly attractive place to shop for international consumers, as tax free shopping rose by 45 per cent in the last quarter.

Shopping company Premier Tax Free has found that British high streets have seen a steady rise in tax-free trade, driven by a growing number of visitors from the Middle East which the company predicts will continue into next year.

Since the EU referendum the growth of tax-free sales has risen by consistent double digits, reaching a total growth of nearly half in the last three months. With Chinese Golden Week and Diwali this trend is expected to continue through October and November.

Shoppers from the Middle East are now the biggest contributors to tourist spend according to the data, seeing a continual influx after the usual Ramadan spike. 

Middle Eastern tax-free transactions were up 48 per cent in last month, with Saudi Arabian spend up a record 117 per cent.

READ MORE: Why is Chinese retail tourism booming?

Chinese Golden week ended earlier this month and was reportedly the most successful week ever, seeing a surge of 30 per cent in Chinese tourists. 

With Diwali around the corner, a 32 per cent increase is expected delivering a further boost in November.

“Amid stories of price increases and fears that Brexit could weigh on sales ahead, a positive outlook for Tax Free shopping is a silver lining for British retailers,” Premier Tax Free chief executive Patrick Waldron said.

“There are a number of major holidays on the horizon – from Diwali through to Chinese New Year. The trends we have identified since the Brexit vote in June suggest that the UK is in pole position to cash in on the growing number of overseas travellers who will travel to Europe to celebrate. 

“There has never been a better time for overseas visitors to come here and snap up a bargain, which is great news for the British high street.” 

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