- Number of Americans coming to the UK on holiday has risen by only 18%
- It suggests they are spending considerably more than they would have done
- The pound fell to $1.21 in January – its lowest since 1985
The pound’s dramatic fall in value after last summer’s Brexit vote has triggered a massive surge in spending by American tourists in the UK.
Visitors from the US spent 70 per cent more in the first six months of this year than they did in the corresponding period in 2016.
The number of Americans coming to the UK on holiday has risen by only 18 per cent in that time, suggesting that individuals are spending considerably more than they would have before.
The pound’s dramatic fall in value after last summer’s Brexit vote has triggered a massive surge in spending by American tourists in the UK
‘Sterling is the lowest it’s been for more than 30 years so it’s not surprising that savvy Americans are in the UK enjoying their new-found spending power,’ said Tom Jenkins, chief executive of the European Tourism Association. The pound fell to $1.21 in January – its lowest since 1985. In effect, Americans now pay 18 per cent less for goods than they would have before last summer’s referendum.
Americans and other non-EU visitors are also exempt from paying VAT on items they take home, giving them an even bigger discount. Analysts said many tourists from the US are buying high-value luxury goods and electronic items. The average transaction value was £820 according to Global Blue, a firm that processes VAT refunds for visitors from outside the EU.
While the pound’s fall is good news for the UK’s tourist industry, Britons holidaying abroad have been forced into extra outlay.
Spending by British tourists overseas has increased by 15 per cent this year to £4.6 billion.
However, the number of foreign trips has increased by only four per cent in that time, indicating that people are having to spend more money on holiday meals, drinks and attractions.
Despite the American shopping spree, the Office for National Statistics said last week that overall spending by tourists to the UK in 2017 rose by just two per cent to £2.2 billion. This suggests that many foreign tourists are visiting on a budget.