Pre-Ramadan holiday goers help boost tourism spend nearly 40%

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Tourism spend shot up in April as the weak pound and pre-Ramadan holiday tourists pushed a 38 per cent rise in  sales.

According to new figures from tax-free shopping experts Global Blue, tourist spend from Middle Eastern countries including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Saudi Arabia have jumped by eight per cent as the pre-Ramadan holiday rush sets in.

The holy month of Ramadan begins this Saturday, and traditionally sees families take a holiday before it begins, sparking an influx of tourists throughout last month.

Overall tourist spend saw its 10th consecutive month of growth in April with a 38 per cent rise in spend year-on-year.

READ MORE:  Tourism spend breaks records in November

This was largely due to continued demand from Chinese tourists which have flocked to the UK since the Brexit vote and the fall of the pound. Chinese visitor spend increased 81 per cent year-on-year, while US tourist spend shot up 56 per cent.

“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,” Global Blue managing director Gordon Clark said.

“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.”

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