LONDON — Tourists are continuing to tighten their purse strings — especially in Europe — with spending showing further declines the month of July, according to the latest Barclays analysis of Global Blue figures.
Overall tourism spend fell 13 percent globally and 20 percent in Europe on the heels of 13 percent and 17 percent declines in June.
Spending in the Asia-Pacific region was up 8 percent in July, compared with 4 percent in June, and was boosted by triple-digit growth in South Korea, according to Barclays.
Chinese spending in APAC was up 5 percent after growth of 1.8 percent in June, supported by a strong rebound in South Korea and easier comparatives from last year’s MERS outbreak.
South Korea is becoming a growing hub for Chinese shoppers who see it as a convenient, safe, fashion- and luxury-focused shopping destination. In addition, there are no time-consuming visa requirements, unlike Europe.
Globally, Chinese consumers posted their fifth consecutive negative monthly result since 2010, according to Barclays. In July, Chinese spending was down 23 percent after falling 18 percent last month.
The Barclays report said the recent daigou crackdown measures put in place by the Chinese government are putting further pressure on Chinese consumer travel and spending abroad.
Daigou is a process by which Chinese shoppers buy luxury goods in bulk outside China, often at much cheaper prices, and send them home to clients.
Other factors dampening spend by the Chinese include terrorist attack fears and biometric visa changes in Europe.
Within Europe, France saw a decline in spending of 24.3 percent during July; Germany a 33 percent decline; and Italy, an 18.2 percent one. Spending in Switzerland — which has also been struggling with a strong currency and inflated prices — fell 15.4 percent, while Spain dipped 4.2 percent.
The U.K. July figure was down 10.3 percent and Barclays pointed out that the July result is the first to show any post-Brexit impact on spending in the U.K. Foreign shoppers piled into stores following the Brexit vote on June 23. The pound crashed against major currencies, making luxury goods cheaper. The pound continues to trade at a discount to the dollar and the euro compared with earlier this year.