Qataris officially biggest spending tourists outside the EU

Qatar’s first lady Sheika Mozah is often seen wearing designer labels. Photograph: AP
The Qataris may be keen on snapping up the best British assets, but it seems they are equally fond of emptying their wallets in the UK high street.

Tourists from Qatar spend more in the UK than any other group of tourists from outside the EU, say researchers. They spend £1,408 per transaction on average, beating visitors from the United Arab Emirates, who spent £1,170.

However, Chinese tourists appear to be catching up. China’s middle class travellers are spending more than ever in the UK, with the average spend rising 37% in the past year to £747 a transaction, according to Global Blue, the tax free shopping firm. e

Other tourists visiting from the Far East, who primarily spend their cash in London, have also been spending more, with Thai tourists spending £848, up 47%, and shoppers from Singapore spending £551 on average, up 20%.

Gordon Clark, UK manager for Global Blue, which processes VAT transactions for shoppers from outside the EU, said: “Should positive changes be made to the Chinese visa system, we are in no doubt that outbound visitor numbers would significantly increase as the cache of buying British brands in Britain continues to be a key driver for shopping focused trips to the UK.”

Business leaders, including the British Chamber of Commerce, have been pushing the Government to relax Chinese visa laws for the past three years in an attempt to encourage even more spending from the travelling middle class of China.

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