Data company Global Blue says tax-free spending by American visitors to the UK has only rebounded to 104 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in the first three months of this year; in France, it is 313 per cent.
In 2019, the UK was among the top-ten most visited destinations in the world, with visitors generating £28 billion of revenue.
Paul Barnes, CEO of the Association of International Retail, says: ‘Britain was the premiership, but we have effectively relegated ourselves to the second division.’
He tells the story of a hotel boss in London’s Park Lane, who welcomed a family from the Middle East, paying for three or four rooms for a two-week stay. For three days of that stay the family went shopping — but not in nearby Harrods or Selfridges or Sloane Street. No, they got on the Eurostar for a three-day shopping spree in Paris.
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