Surge in tourist spending to boost UK retail, leisure firms

Tourists pose for photographs in front of Buckingham Palace in central London April 6, 2014. Reuters/Neil Hall

LONDON (Reuters) - Spending by foreign tourists in Britain is set to rise 34 percent to over 27 billion pounds a year by 2017, according to research published on Friday, boosting the country's retail and leisure industries.

A report commissioned for Barclays said an increase in spending by tourists from emerging economies such as China, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, together with loosening visa restrictions, would support the boost to Britain's economy.

According to the report, Britain's biggest spending visitors will continue to come from the United States, France and Germany, but Russia and the UAE will break into the top 10 by 2017, while spending by Chinese tourists will surge 84 percent on 2013 figures to over 1 billion pounds.

By 2017, the UK retail sector is set to generate 9.3 billion pounds from tourists, an increase of 36 percent from 2013, while tourist spending on hotels, eating out and attractions will rise by a third to 14.7 billion pounds, the report forecast.

(Reporting by Neil Maidment; Editing by Mark Potter)