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Foreign tourists fuelling UK growth

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Staff writer | Monday May 5, 2014 4:35AM ET
UK touristsSpend on retail, hospitality and leisure is set to rocket as overseas visitors flock to the UK over the next few years, according to a new report from Barclays.


The research, independently commissioned for Barclays’ Retail and Hospitality & Leisure banking teams, reveals that spending from foreign tourists is predicted to reach over 27 billion pounds by 2017, an increase of 34% on 2013.

Rapid growth in spend among tourists from emerging economies will be further boosted by loosening visa restrictions, and overseas visitors will deliver a significant boost to the economy this year and beyond.

Visitors from the US currently spend the most in the UK, followed by France and Germany and this spending pattern will continue through to 2017. However, emerging economies such as China, the UAE and Russia are set to outstrip them in growth terms owing to the increasing wealth of consumers in these countries, in particular their growing middle-classes.

The UAE and Russia are set to break into the top ten nationalities to visit the UK by 2017 and tourists from China alone will spend over 1 billion pounds in 2017, up by 84% from 2013.

The sectors that will benefit extensively from this rise in tourist spending are undoubtedly the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors, with both expected to boom. The retail sector is set to generate 9.3 billion pounds from tourists in 2017, an increase of 36% from 2013. Expenditure within the fashion retail sector will increase by 38% alone, to 5.8 billion pounds.

Spending on hotels, eating out and attractions will rise by 33% to 14.7 billion pounds in 2017. Overseas visitors are set to spend 5.3 billion pounds on eating out by 2017, up by 34%, with spend on leisure attractions increasing by 32% to 2 billion pounds by 2017, and hotel accommodation attracting 7.3 billion pounds in spend by 2017, an increase of 33%.

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