Blog: Leonie BarrieTourist trade

Leonie Barrie | 28 January 2004

We all hear so much about the threat of China to our manufacturing industries that it’s sometimes easy to overlook the huge opportunities the escalating numbers of affluent Chinese consumers present to European retailers. A press release that crossed my desk today points out that sales by UK retailers alone to Chinese tourists since 2000 have mushroomed by a massive 261 per cent. And this is only the beginning according to tax free shopping provider, Global Refund. It believes the number of Chinese visitors to the UK and Europe will grow even faster when Approved Destination Status (ADS) is implemented later this year. This agreement will make it easier for Chinese shoppers to travel to Europe and the UK.

Other big spenders include visitors from India (up 13 per cent), and Russia (22 per cent). While on the downside the traditional tourists – the Americans – are tightening their purse strings and are likely to do so until the dollar recovers. How much of this expenditure goes towards clothing isn’t clear; but the conclusion is that barring major terrorist incidents, or events such as the recent bird flu, retailers can look forward to healthy sales to tourists in 2004.


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