WEALTHY foreign visitors helped keep Britain’s tills ringing over Christmas with spending up a record 40 per cent on the previous year.
Chinese tourists led the charge, with spending up 52 per cent to around £741 per transaction in December, according to figures out yesterday by tax-free shopping specialist Global Blue.
China accounted for the highest proportion of overseas spending at 23 per cent, but Middle Eastern shoppers spent the most, with shoppers from Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia splurging £1,165, £1,150 and £1,037 respectively on average.
There were also some unexpected increases in spending. Russia became the second biggest shopping nation, making up seven per cent of total tax-free purchases, more than any Middle Eastern nation, with sales up 30 per cent for the month. Malaysia overtook Thailand as the biggest growth market, with spending up 73 per cent.
Global Blue’s Gordon Clark said discounted fares as well as new flight routes have helped to increase tourism to the UK.