Weak pound drives tourist spending ‘surge’ on UK’s high streets

weak pound

The UK’s biggest payments processor charts a leap in the amount of money foreign tourists are spending in the UK.

An 18 per cent surge in the amount of money spent by overseas tourists in the UK last month is being credited to the collapse in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote, reports Sky.

Worldpay, the country’s biggest payments processor, said it had tracked spending on cards of £643m by visitors in June and predicted a £2.4bn bonanza for retailers if the trend continued over the summer.

The weak pound versus a basket of international currencies since the referendum means tourists get more value for their money when buying goods and services in the UK.

The opposite is true for UK citizens abroad as their spending power drifts.

Sky News reported on Thursday how Britons planning summer getaways in the euro area had suffered a pre-trip blow because of the currency reaching an eight-month high against sterling.

While their in-resort spending will effectively cost them more, companies like Burberry have been reporting a boost to trade in the UK as luxury goods’ costs for people from abroad become more competitive.

UK tourism numbers have been rising steadily while the Office for National Statistics has already reported a strong June for the country’s retailers.

Worldpay pointed to a leap of almost 60 per cent spent in the UK by visitors from the Middle East as Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, fell in the month.

It pointed to luxury boutiques and department stores enjoying a 63 per cent increase in sales – aided by citizens of the US and Russia.

The company’s chief UK marketing officer, James Frost, said: “Sterling’s slump is continuing to attract visitors in their droves, safe in the knowledge that their holiday cash will stretch a little further.”

He added: “It tends to be London that grabs the headlines when it comes to tourist spending, but the reality is destinations right across the UK are benefiting from an influx of free-spending tourists.

“Businesses in Scotland and Wales have already seen foreign spending surge by as much as 27 per cent compared to last year, and this could increase further in July and August.

“By investing to make their businesses more attractive to global customers, retailers and tourist hotspots across the UK could make serious gains from the pound’s performance this summer.”