Will tourists flock for royal wedding?

Christoph Meyer
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding is expected to inject GBP1 billion into the UK economy.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding is expected to inject GBP1 billion into the UK economy.

Many sectors of the British economy look set to profit from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding. From hotel managers to souvenir merchants, folks are already rubbing their hands in expectation.

The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is not until May 19, but vendors in Windsor, where the couple will tie the knot, are already trying to clear out stock from the last royal wedding.

Souvenir merchants are, above all, looking forward to US tourists.

"The Americans really spend a lot of money," she says.

That Harry's fiancee is a US citizen and a well-known actress is one of a few reasons this wedding could be a financial boon to Britain.

Financial consulting firm Brand Finance projects a boost of more than GBP1 billion ($A1.3 billion) for the British economy in 2018 from the wedding festivities.

A good GBP 300 million is expected to come from tourism, while GBP300 million will be generated by media coverage, picture and television rights, and the overall publicity for Britain.

Another GBP250 million could be spent on partying, according to Brand Finance.

And then there's the "Meghan Effect", similar to the "Kate Effect" caused by the Duchess of Cambridge: The clothing that Markle wears sells out almost overnight. This phenomenon could potentially generate as much as GBP150 million for the British economy.

And lastly, souvenir items could bring in another GBP50 million.

However, some question whether US tourists are actually going to be flocking to Britain for the wedding.

Oliver Jager, chief executive of ForwardKeys, which monitors 17 million flight bookings a day, said that "there was no discernible increase in bookings for the UK as a consequence of the royal wedding."

Similar caution is also being expressed by European Tourism Association CEO Tom Jenkins: "Don't expect visitors from abroad to come for this royal wedding; it is a pageant for domestic consumption. In the past, we have seen hotel prices rise around major royal events, but they soon come back to normality when hotels realise there is no additional demand."

Still, souvenir merchants in Windsor remain cautiously optimistic.

One of them is Malkit Singh Aujla, who runs a shop directly across the street from Windsor Castle. He expects only increased demand in the week before and after the wedding - nothing more, nothing less.

But even if the huge crush of tourists doesn't materialise on the wedding day, the tourism industry could not come up with a better marketing event if it tried: Hotels in Windsor were almost completely booked out soon after the wedding date was announced in December.

A likely explanation, however, is the large number of reporters from around the world expected to descend on Windsor to cover the wedding.

According to the Office of National Statistics, there was an increase of about 354,000 visitors to Britain in April 2011, the month that William and Kate got married - a 15 per cent increase in comparison to April 2010.

That was less than expected, yet when viewed over the span of the entire year, an overall positive effect was felt, with the number of holidaymakers in Britain up more than seven per cent.

Whatever happens, Britain is chalking up record visitor numbers - not in the least because the pound has dropped in the wake of the Brexit vote.