Rouble rout stops Russian tourists spending in the UK

Jessica Morris
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International tourist spend surged in December (Source: Getty)

Russia's economic quagmire is affecting the spending habits of Russians tourists in the UK, with total spending plunging 28 per cent last year according to research by tax experts Global Blue.

Amid global sanctions over the Crisis in Ukraine, and a glut in the supply of oil leading to tumbling prices, thing went from bad to worse for the Russian economy.

The Russian rouble shed around half of its value, also taking Russian tourists' spending power with it. Currency depreciation effectively makes goods priced in other currencies more expensive.

"The continual fall of the economy has left Russian tourists travelling abroad facing costs that, in rouble terms, have doubled in the course of the year," Global Blue said.

Chinese tourists were once again the biggest spenders, with their spending comprising 25 per cent of total international shopping transactions last year. They also spent six per cent more than in 2013, which includes a 20 per cent surge in December.

Overall spending from international tourists dipped three per cent in 2014 compared to a year earlier. This was impacted by tourists from the US, the UAE and Malaysia all tightening their purse strings.

"Christmas was becoming an increasingly unpopular time for non-EU visitors," Global Blue said.

"2014 was a turning point for how Christmas is a key period for international spend, a trend which we expect to continue."

"Unlike domestic, globe shoppers are not simply drawn by heavy discounts but also .. a time when the streets are festively decorated to look their best."

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