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Luxury brands call for re-introduction of tax-free shopping

Luxury trade association Walpole has called on the UK government to re-introduce tax-free shopping for international tourists. The organisation said the move would boost the British… View Article

GENERAL MERCHANDISE NEWS

Luxury brands call for re-introduction of tax-free shopping

Luxury trade association Walpole has called on the UK government to re-introduce tax-free shopping for international tourists.

The organisation said the move would boost the British economy by at least £1.2 billion and, if combined with a smoother tourist visa scheme, could help the UK’s post-pandemic tourism economy match that of France, Italy and other EU countries, all of which are returning to pre-pandemic levels at a faster rate.

In a report entitled ‘What It’s Worth: Enabling the Return of the £30bn High-end Tourism Sector’, Walpole includes testimonies from a range of luxury brands. It also reveals how high-end visitors typically spend 14 times more than the average visitor, with their spending amounting to around £30 billion in economic value.

However, Walpole has highlighted how the UK has lost its position as the favoured destination for high spending international tourists since Brexit and the outbreak of Covid-19, which it says is largely due to the government’s decision to abolish tax-free shopping.

Walpole chief executive Helen Brocklebank said: “To say that it has been a challenging few years for the UK tourism industry would
be an understatement, however we are now in a position where the UK can open its doors to the world and welcome back international tourists – especially those high-end tourists who are looking to spend in our luxury hotels, restaurants, shops and cultural venues up and down the country, all the while aiding economic growth and job creation. By doing this, we can work together to make the UK the destination of choice for those looking to travel post-Covid and fuel the UK’s long-term recovery.”

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