LONDON, Jan 3 – Prince Harry’s wedding to American
actress Meghan Markle could provide a 500 million pound boost to
Britain’s economy as tourists flock to the country and Britons
celebrate, according to an estimate.
Harry, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson and fifth-in-line to the
throne, will tie the knot with Markle on May 19 at Windsor
Castle, the royal palace home of British kings and queens for
almost 1,000 years.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the wedding
of Harry’s elder brother William to wife Kate in April 2011 led
to an increase of 350,000 visitors to the UK compared to the
same month the year before and business valuation consultancy
Brand Finance predicted a similar surge in May.
In total, it estimates the nuptials will generate some 500
million pounds ($680 million).
“We think approximately 200 million pounds will come from
tourism, travel, hotels,” the company’s chief executive David
Haigh told Reuters.
About 150 million pounds would be spent on people having
parties and celebrating with 50 million coming from people
buying T-shirts, hats and other commemorative items, he said.
The wedding would also be worth about 100 million pounds in
free advertising for Britain around the world, he added.
Businesses in Windsor are already gearing up to take
advantage of the worldwide interest in the couple, with Harry,
33, one of the most popular members of the British royal family
and Markle, 36, best known for her starring role in the TV legal
drama “Suits”, providing some Hollywood sparkle.
“It’s going to be a massive boost for the economy, it’s
going to be great to see so many people here for the wedding and
actually to host the wedding itself,” said Andrew Lee, manager
of the Harte and Garter hotel opposite Windsor Castle.
British tourism bosses are already predicting 2018 to be a
bumper year for the industry, aided by a fall in the value of
the pound since the 2016 vote to leave the European Union which
has attracted visitors and deterred Britons from vacationing
VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, estimates that
41.7 million visits from overseas will be made to the United
Kingdom in 2018, generating 26.9 billion pounds in the process.