LONDON — Global Blue, the tax-free shopping agency, has released data showing a steep decline of 14 percent in international tourist spending. The report from the Swiss-based company will be issued next week.
According to an analysis by Barclays, this has been the worst monthly result since 2010.
Spending in Europe saw the biggest slowdown of 23 percent, with 6 European countries posting declines, including an 18 percent decline in the U.K., 21 percent in Italy and 29 percent in France.
Barclays noted that the impact of European terrorist attacks, the introduction of biometric visas — which requires applicants for Schengen visas to provide fingerprints — as well as the overall decrease in Chinese consumer spending, impacted spending.
According to the report, France, which saw an average 40 percent monthly growth in 2015, slowed down sharply in October to 5.4 percent. The spending growth turned negative in November and deteriorated further in the following months.
European countries saw a decline in traffic, 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.
Chinese consumers in Europe spent 35 percent less year-on-year in March versus a 5 percent increase reported in February. The Asia-Pacific region also experienced a slowdown, posting a six percent fall, Japan being the only country in the region where Chinese spending grew.
A weak ruble, low oil prices and continuing sanctions also led to the ongoing decrease of Russian tourist spending globally, which fell by 22 percent in March as opposed to a 13 percent decline in February.
According to the data, Europe’s generous tax refund payments still maintains its importance in the travel retail market, accounting for up to two-thirds of the sales. Global Blue estimates that tourist spending makes up 60 percent of the European luxury market.