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Lanterns strung across Gerrard Street in Chinatown, London, as preparations are made ahead of the Chinese New Year celebrations in January 2017.
A week-long national holiday in China is providing a much-needed boost for the entertainment and retail industry in London, with Chinese tourists taking advantage of the dip in exchange rates.
China’s National Day Golden Week holiday is arguably one of the biggest events in the consumer calendar. Now halfway through its duration, the spending power of 1.4 billion Chinese has been unleashed on the world’s entertainment and tourism industries.
London, in which the Brexit-weakened pound has proved a boon for international visitors looking for a better deal, has already been enjoying a bumper week. The Hippodrome Casino, located near tourist hotspot Leicester Square, has said that it could see up to 300,000 more Chinese visitors this week. This is a marked increase on the 54,000 Chinese visitors to the U.K. in the first quarter of 2017, a figure which was already up 27 percent year-on-year.
According to the New West End Company, citing figures from retail research firm Global Blue, international spending in London’s West End in July 2017 had risen by 20 percent year-on-year. Chinese shoppers spent the most, shelling out an average of £1,478 ($1,946) at each transaction. The number of visitors specifically from the Middle Kingdom had also grown 31 percent year-on-year in July.
“Demand is sure to continue throughout Golden Week,” Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of the New West End Company, a body representing the area, said in a statement Friday.