Spending by Russian visitors in the UK fell by 17% in February as a result of the political crisis in the Ukraine and a subsequent drop in the value of the rouble.
Tax-free shopping experts Global Blue said both factors made Russians disinclined to travel.
Global Blue said that while Russian shoppers remain among the highest spending tourists in the UK, with shoppers spending an average of £669 per transaction, the fall had resulted in Russia dropping one place to fourth among non-EU shoppers, behind Nigeria.
Until recently, the amount spent by Russian tourists was increasing, with an annual rise in spending of 16% in 2013.
Gordon Clark, UK country manager of Global Blue, said: “The unstable situation in Russia has shown its effect on tourism spend this year as the weakening economy leaves shoppers disinclined to travel. However, Russia is still one of the top globe shopper markets in the UK as high net worth individuals are drawn to the UK’s extensive offer of luxury brands, so businesses should renew their emphasis on strategies to entice these individuals and encourage high level spend.”
Global Blue said growth in the level of spending could slow in the near future but described the long-term forecast as positive.
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