PARIS — Tourism, a key engine of luxury goods sales, stalled in January.
Global tourism spending rose 3 percent, the weakest monthly increase since August 2014, according to a research report by Barclays citing data from tax-refund firm Global Blue.
Spending by Chinese tourists increased 11 percent in January — a slowdown versus December, and also the weakest result since August 2014. Suggesting the terror attacks in Paris last November have had a sobering effect, Chinese spending in Europe declined 12.9 percent.
The impact of the Paris attacks seems to be intensifying, with November spending falling 2.6 percent in November, 8.3 percent in December and 20.8 percent in January, according to Global Blue, which now releases data by country.
“All other countries in the region have also seen a decrease in traffic since November 2015, which aligns with the comments made by tour operators and the brands stating that tourists have diverted travel away from Europe on the back of terror threats,” the report said.
Chinese tourist flows to Japan jumped 52.3 percent in January despite tough comparisons to January 2015, when sales rocketed 325 percent.
Last year’s outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome in Korea weakened tourist flows to the country. January spending rose 3.8 percent versus and average growth of more than 60 percent until June 2015.
Russian tourism fell 21.7 percent in January after a slight improvement in December, suggesting that a falling ruble, anemic oil prices and sanctions continue to sap consumer appetite.
Global Blue noted that Russian spending in January fell to 8 percent from 10.8 percent a year ago while Chinese accounted for 36 percent of spending, up from 27 percent a year ago.
Tourism can account for as much as 70 percent of sales for European luxury firms such as Ferragamo, Compagnie Financière Richemont SA and Prada, Barclays noted.