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ME visitors’ shopping in Germany up 25pc

Middle Eastern visitors to Germany spent an average of 308 euros ($415) on tax-free shopping in the first half of 2013, marking an increase of 25 per cent over the same period, a report said.

Shopping included clothing (40 per cent), goods in department stores (18 per cent) and watches and jewellery, added the report from Global Blue, the world’s largest service provider in the field of VAT refunds.

The favorite destination for shopping was Munich, accounting for almost half of their sales. But Frankfurt and Duesseldorf were also popular shopping cities for Gulf visitors.

Visitors from abroad appreciate Germany not only as a cultural destination but also as a good place to go shopping, a statement said.

“Because of the excellent price/performance ratio, Germany has a very good reputation as a shopping destination. According to a recent Quality Monitor survey; 11 per cent of our foreign guests come to Germany for shopping,” said Petra Hedorfer, chief executive officer of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB).

From January to June 2013, spending on shopping by international guests increased by 4.3 per cent in the area of tax-free shopping compared to the same period last year, according to Global Blue.

“We are excited about this positive development and expect continued solid growth numbers for shopping tourism from abroad, also for the next few months,” said Thorsten Lind, managing director of Global Blue Germany.

In the first half of the year, travelers from abroad spent, on average, 317 euros on tax-free shopping. Their favorite cities were Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin.

Twenty-three per cent of tax-free sales were generated in the Bavarian capital, 21 per cent in Frankfurt and 15 per cent in the German capital of Berlin.

Chinese ‘biggest spenders’

The visitors who spend the most on tax-free shopping are Chinese visitors who spent an average of 610 euro per purchase in Germany between January and June 2013, an increase of nine per cent compared to the same period last year. Half of the turnover came from purchases of jewellery and watches, followed by clothing (19 per cent) and leather goods and travel accessories (10 per cent).

Second place among visitors with the highest shopping sales are visitors from Russia, also significantly involved with 27 per cent of the positive tax-free sales from January to June 2013. In this period, they spent an average of 337 euro per purchase – an increase of 17.5 per cent compared to the first half of 2012.


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