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A surge in Indian tourists brings big spending to a cheaper London

A surge in Indian tourists brings big spending to a cheaper London. Some key statistics below:

  • Spending by Indian tourists in London’s West End was up 38 per cent year-on-year in July 2017
  • Only visitors from China and the U.S. spent more money in London
  • Over the past decade, the value of the international Indian tourist market grew by 150 per cent

China’s recent Golden Week holiday saw an influx of Chinese tourists to London, but a different Asian consumer has increasingly been spending money in the U.K. capital.

Spending by Indian tourists in London’s West End was up 38 per cent year-on-year in July, according to the New West End Company, a body that represents the central London shopping and theatre district.

Visitors from the world’s second most populous country ranked third for international spending in the West End in July, outstripping typically high-spending Middle Eastern visitors, and falling behind only China and the U.S.

Economic growth in India is expected to rise to 7.2 per cent in the fiscal year of 2017/18, and 7.5 per cent the following year, according to the World Bank. India is home to 1.3 billion people, trailing only China’s 1.4 billion population; by a United Nations estimate, India is set to overtake China’s population by 2024.

But, according to the New West End Company, there was a marked lag between the spending power of Indian consumers in comparison to the Chinese an average of 677 and 1,478 respectively in July. VisitBritain, the U.K.’s tourism authority, said that the average spending by Indian tourists in the U.K. was 74 per cent higher than the all-market average.

Sterling, despite recovering some losses since its initial drop following June 2016’s Brexit vote, is still down roughly 11 per cent since before the referendum. International tourist numbers have since been on the up, sparked by cheaper prices.

VisitBritain, in a report on Indian tourism to the U.K. out last Thursday, said that over the past decade, the value of the international Indian tourist market had grown by 150 per cent, rising from $6.2 billion in 2005 to $16.4 billion in 2016.

The report said that the U.K. was the 10th most popular destination for travel, and second to France in Europe, with Indian tourists preferring to visit Gulf countries and the U.S.

India’s overhaul of its Goods and Services Tax was launched on July 1, resulting in a fall in the taxation of economy flights from 5 to 6 per cent, while business class flights are now taxed more at 12 per cent, up from 9 per cent.

Source: Justina Crabtree(Digital News Assistant, CNBC)

Record year as 19 million tourists visit London

Record year as 19 million tourists visit London

The number of foreign visitors to London has smashed through the 19 million mark for the first time in another record year for tourism.

The total number of visits rose 2.6 per cent from 18.6 million to 19.1 million with a particularly strong 8 per cent surge in the final three months of 2016, according to official data from the Office for National Statistics.

Tourism bosses said the fall in the value of the pounds after the Brexit referendum in June had helped make the capital an even more attractive destination for visitors.

However, spending on hotels, restaurants and attractions was slightly down over the year at £11.9 billion, although it was up in the last quarter.

Numbers have risen steadily since the Olympics and Paralympics of 2012 gave London an unprecedented shop window to the rest of the world. Annual visits are now 25 per cent higher than five years ago.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: I am delighted that more people than ever before are choosing to visit London, immersing themselves in all that our great city has to offer including an unbeatable array of restaurants, museums, shops and theatres.

“This is further evidence that London is Open and has an appeal that clearly extends across the globe.?

Major events that boosted tourism numbers last year included Great Fire 350, which saw thousands of people lining the River Thames to see the burning of a replica City of London.

Also popular among visitors were blockbuster exhibitions such as David Hockney at the Royal Academy, and EXHIBITIONISM at the Saatchi Gallery; the first retrospective of the Rolling Stones’s life and career.

Many museums also saw record numbers of visitors. Joanna Mackle, Deputy Director of the British Museum, said: The British Museum is delighted to be the most visited attraction in the UK for the 10th year running.

How will Brexit impact tourism in the UK?


It became official this June – Britain is no longer a part of the European Union. The exit of the UK from the EU, popularly dubbed ‘Brexit’, has dealt a historic blow to the supposed unity and economic integration of Europe. But while its political and economic aftermath has been the topic of every discussion and news hour debate, what travellers within and outside Europe and the UK are waiting to know is how Brexit will impact tourism in the region, especially London.

The divorce process is expected to unfold over the next two years. While changes are certainly beginning to show, it is still early to make any concrete assumptions or predictions. The following are some possible implications of Brexit for the travel and tourism industry.

Cheaper to travel to the UK

The British pound saw a rapid free fall against major international currencies following Brexit, hitting record lows against the US dollar and Euro. Although the pound is expected to stabilise soon, it is unlikely to regain its former glory. It has subsequently become a good deal cheaper to vacation in the UK. The weakened currency might offset the British economy, but the resultant increase in inbound tourism might just prove to be the silver lining.

Outbound tourism from Britain to fall

British residents’ wallets are bound to take a hit following the economic slowdown and political instability at home. With the pound falling hard against the Euro, Britons are anxious about the increased costs of travelling through the EU. The same is the case with the USA, whose biggest source of overseas visitors is Britain. In the wake of Brexit, the EU-US Open Skies Agreement ceases to apply to the UK, which may also mean greater restrictions on air travel between the UK and the US.

It's official - Britain is out of the EU.
It’s official – Britain is out of the EU. (Source)

Restrictions on tourism between the UK and the EU

Following Brexit, there is speculation that the UK and EU may impose reciprocal restrictions on travel and customs, making it difficult for Britons to move around the continent and for European tourists to visit Britain. Many pro-Remain British residents went so far as to say that their nation has transformed overnight from the ‘United Kingdom’ to ‘Little England’, referring to the absence of free movement, which was a core principle of the European Union.

Higher Airfares travelling to and fro from the United Kingdom

The European Union has facilitated more open competition among air service operators on routes between EU countries. This led to the success of no-frills airlines with historically low airfares and a variety of routes to choose from. In the wake of Brexit, new air service agreements will have to be signed for British airlines to continue operating freely across the EU and for European airlines to fly in and out of the UK. This is expected to cause an increase in airfares and a limited choice of routes between the UK and the EU. Check out the latest “Airfares Here

Higher roaming charges on mobile phones

The costs of using mobile phones in Europe have reduced a lot under EU rules in recent years.?Roaming charges are also set to be completely abolished next year. What remains to be seen is whether the UK government will continue to implement these EU directives.? If it changes track, which is presumable, mobile phone roaming costs for Britons in Europe will see a significant hike.

Bottomline in the wake of Brexit
Bottomline in the wake of Brexit

Brexit is hence being seen as happy news for travellers headed to Britain, though not so much for travellers within the region. Keeping our fingers crossed and waiting for a better outlook on tourism in the months to come!