Visitors from Middle East are highest spending UK tourists

Monday, 28 July 2014
The Chinese are no longer the biggest spending tourists in the UK. According to Global Blue, the duty free shopping experts, the biggest spending tourists are from the Middle East. A recent survey by Visit Britain shows that tourists from the Middle East are twice as likely as typical visitors to buy clothes and shoes. Kuwaiti visitors have the highest propensity to buy these items, with Nigerians in second place, followed by Saudi Arabians, reported the Financial Times.

London offer every conceivable luxury

London's first class retail offer is a big draw to tourists, where most conceivable luxury products can be bought. On average, a visit from Kuwait delivers 4,000 pounds to the UK economy and one from Qatar almost 3,000 pounds. By comparison, a French visitor will spend an average of 343 pounds.

Earlier this year Global Blue stated visitors from Russia saw a spending decline of 17 percent, as a result of the political crisis in the Ukraine and a subsequent drop in the value of the rouble.

For Middle Eastern visitors, Ramadan is a key shopping time in the calendar, and many visitors come to London to escape the heat back home.

Visit Britain found that while Middle Eastern visitors want cutting edge fashion, they are not as interested in buying British food and drink. In contrast, 34 per cent of Belgians, 32 per cent of French and 32 per cent of Japanese visitors are most likely to buy British food and drink to take home.

Shopping in Harrods was chosen as a top activity by one in five respondents to the survey when asked to select their top three British dream holiday experiences.

Overall, international visitors spent 4.5 billion pounds in British shops in 2012, a quarter of total expenditure by foreign tourists that year. Image: Middle Eastern shoppers