London retail tourism industry boosted by strong growth in 2016
London’s retail tourism industry achieved strong growth in 2016 as international tax free shopping spend in the capital climbed by 15% year-on-year.
The figures from retail tourism expert Global Blue support Visit Britain’s announcement that more overseas visitors came to the UK last year than ever before.
Ros Morgan, chief executive of Heart of London Business Alliance, said: “London, and the West End, is a huge contributor to the UK’s tourist economy and last year’s positive growth shows the importance of our city to destination UK. We know the weakened pound played a role in attracting visitor spend, but now is the time to ensure we continue to inspire visitors’ to travel here and support our thriving tourist economy and remind visitors that #londonisopen.”
In London, Chinese visitors accounted for the greatest share of international tax free shopping spend in 2016 at 21%. This represented an increase of 17% compared with 2015. Saudi Arabia and the UAE accounted for 8% of London’s tax free shopping market each, with their spend climbing by 14% and 28% respectively.
The United States, which Visit Britain has named as the UK's most valuable tourism source market, accounted for 5% of London’s international tax free spend which was an increase of 39% on 2015.
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