Pre-Ramadan rush boosted by weaker pound and love of British luxury

Alys Key
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Visitors from Middle Eastern nations spend an average of £1,101 per transaction (Source: Getty)

Retail tourism in the UK continues to benefit from a pre-Ramadan rush of buyers from the Middle East spending on luxury items.

The weak pound has reinforced the trend this year according to tax-free shopping experts Global Blue.

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Middle East tourist spend in the UK increased 8 per cent on the year in April, ahead of the beginning of Ramadan at the end of this week. Overall spend was up 12 per cent for the year to date.

Gordon Clark, Global Blue managing director in the UK and Ireland, said: “With Ramadan ending in the last days of June, we anticipate a high volume of spend from Middle Eastern shoppers during July – a few weeks earlier than last year – contributing to another strong month for UK retail tourism.”

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Travellers from Middle Eastern nations account for the largest portion of international tax-free spending in the UK, at 37 per cent. They also spend more per transaction than other tourists with an average spend of £1,101.

Overall tourist spend in the UK was up 38 per cent year on year last month, with significant 81 per cent growth in purchases made by Chinese visitors.

Clark added: “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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