London’s biggest tourist attraction this winter: weak pound
By Nelson Alcantara | Nov 11, 2009
LONDON (eTN) – The weak British pound is luring tourists to the West End in droves. So much so that Central London shops are expecting to receive an influx of foreign tourists this winter. Recent reports have cited the New West End Company, representative of retailers on Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street, is estimating a 5 to 10 percent year-on-year increase in foreign shoppers over the holidays.
Oxford Street, thanks to tourists lured by the weak pound and the ongoing World Travel Market, is hustling and bustling both at daytime and nighttime, with shops filled with customers.
Customers on Oxford Street are particularly drawn to the street by the festive Christmas lights, which were officially lit last week, as well as intriguing department store windows, which are showcasing London’s creativity and knack for hooking wandering eyes.
The Christmas shopping season is expected to bring in around 40 million shoppers to the stores of London. Of those, 10 million foreign tourists are expected. Middle East tourists take the spot as the number one spenders. This year, a 15 to 20 percent spike in the number of tourists from the Mid East from last year’s figure is being forecast.
It is also being projected that European tourists, who are taking advantage of the current favorable exchange rate, will outnumber US tourists this year during the busy holiday shopping season.
A plus for shoppers on Oxford Circus this year is the recently unveiled (by the Mayor of London) and US$10 million Tokyo-style pedestrian crossing, which allows for diagonal crossing, doubling the number of people who can cross the street at any one time.