Date
23 October 2017
Luxury brands such as Burberry are likely to benefit from the weaker pound, which is seen attracting shoppers from overseas. Photo: Bloomberg
Luxury brands such as Burberry are likely to benefit from the weaker pound, which is seen attracting shoppers from overseas. Photo: Bloomberg

Chinese shoppers flock to Britain as pound slumps

Britain, which voted to leave the European Union last week, is likely to see a fresh surge in tourist arrivals from China as its currency continued to plunge.

Searches by Chinese for holidays in the United Kingdom “skyrocketed” on Ctrip.com International Ltd.’s travel booking app, while Chinese news site Phoenix implored visitors to London to “Buy, Buy, Buy”, Bloomberg News reports.

The outcome of Thursday’s referendum sent the British pound plummeting, making the country’s goods and services cheaper for foreign buyers.

And the Chinese have been the biggest buyers of luxury goods which they prefer to buy overseas, the report said.

They made 270,000 trips to the UK last year, up 46 percent, according to tourism website VisitBritain.

British Airways owner IAG SA said Tuesday the weaker pound will boost tourist flows to the country.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chinese and Middle Eastern tourists flocking to the UK as their purchasing value has increased,” Edouard Meylan, chief executive officer of Swiss watchmaker H. Moser & Cie, was quoted as saying.

“People are ready to travel to get a 5 to 10 to 20 percent discount.”

British companies likely to benefit from the weakening currency include Burberry Group Plc and Mulberry Group Plc, which have struggled amid slowing luxury demand and terror attacks in Europe.

The UK is the world’s sixth-largest market for luxury spending, at 15.5 billion euros (US$17.2 billion).

Britain’s gain could come at the expense of retailers in Japan, casinos in Macau and jewelers in Hong Kong, Bloomberg said.

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