LONDON — Terrorism, the introduction of new biometric passports, and unfavorable comparisons with last year’s numbers dented growth in tourist spend in Europe in February, according to the latest figures released by Global Blue, and analyzed by Barclays.
Global Blue said growth worldwide was 4 percent, following a 3 percent uptick in January. That compares with a 15 percent increase in February 2015.
Sales in Europe declined 2 percent, while in the Asia-Pacific region they increased 10 percent. Spending by Chinese consumers globally rose 5 percent, while that of Russians declined 12.6 percent.
Barclays said in its report Thursday that the slowdown in Europe was due to “a tougher comparison [with last year], the impact of the Paris terrorist strikes, and the effect of the introduction of biometric passports, in our view.”
The introduction of biometric passports means that tourists who are applying for a visa to visit the U.K. — and other countries that use biometrics as a requirement for entry — have extra hurdles to overcome before they can travel.
Barclays also pointed out that the overall growth of Chinese consumers’ spending globally has slowed, “and remains a concern for the industry.”
In the January/February of Chinese New Year, Chinese consumer shopping fell 8 percent in Europe, grew 25 percent in Asia-Pacific and advanced 8 percent overall compared with last year.
Barclays said Chinese global spending showed further signs of a slowdown, rising 5 percent in February after climbing 11 percent January. It was the weakest result since August 2014, when growth was 2.7 percent.
Chinese spending in the Asia-Pacific region increased 14 percent in February, after a 42 percent spike in January. Their spending in Europe was down 5 percent, compared with January’s 12.9 percent.
Russian tourism spending continued to fall, with a 13 percent decline worldwide in the month of February.