But what effect will Meghan and Harry’s much-publicised wedding have on the city’s tourism this weekend?
According to ForwardKeys, a company which monitors 17 million flight bookings per day, the answer is “not much.”
CEO Olivier Jager said he has seen “no discernible increase in bookings for the UK as a consequence of the royal wedding”.
“This could be another Fergie situation if it all goes horribly wrong.”
Brand Finance CEO David Haigh
Tom Jenkins from the European tourism association said royal weddings were primarily media spectacles rather than tourism phenomena.
“In the past there is no traceable demand surge from foreign visitors: not during the event, nor afterwards,” he said.
“The wedding may have great benefits in boosting the ‘brand’ of Britain, but don’t expect many visitors to come for it,”he said.
“It is a pageant for domestic and televised consumption.”
Media books Windsor out
All of Australia’s free-to-air television networks, with the exception of Network 10, are broadcasting the wedding.
The media invasion of the sleepy town of Windsor on London’s outskirts is likely behind the increase in bookings website booking.com recorded for May this year compared to last year. The company was unable to say by how much bookings had increased. But the most among visitors were coming from the United States, Canada and Australia – all countries carrying live broadcasts of the wedding.
AirBnB said bookings had increased by 194 per cent for the Windsor area compared to last year.
But Brand Finance disputes ForwardKeys analysis and says brand Britain will be a winner both in the short and long-term.
“There’s this effect where people come because they’ve been saying, I’ve always wanted to go and this would be a nice year to go,” CEO David Haigh said.
Fortnum & Mason are hosting a champagne afternoon tea during the live broadcast of the royal wedding in May 2018.
The flow-on effects will be huge and can be unexpected, he said, citing the case of the single mother who sold her candid photo of Prince William, Kate, Harry and Meghan together for the first time for a sum big enough to pay off her debts, a holiday in the Carribean and put towards her daughter’s future.
“Everytime that photograph, taken on her iPhone is used, she will get a copyright fee – it’s mind-blowing,” he said.
Brand Finance has previously calculated the value of the royal brand to be worth £44 billion. Haigh said Meghan would add to this value but warned that any public scandal, for example involving her family, many members of from whom she is estranged, could damage the brand.
“This could be another Fergie situation if it all goes horribly wrong,” he said.
Brand Finance has calculated the wedding will add £1 billion in value to the British economy in 2018, a third of which is the direct value the media coverage the country will enjoy across the globe as Meghan and whomever ends up giving her away, walk down the aisle of St. George’s chapel at Windsor Castle.
Brand Finance estimates £250 million will be spent on food and drink and at restaurants and bars celebrating, £50 million on souveniers, and predicts a £150 million boost in sales of British brands Meghan Markles promotes by wearing.
£300 million is expected to spent on hotels on the weekend and throughout the year, with expectations of a hike in American tourists.
Latika Bourke is a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age based in London. She has previously worked for Fairfax Media, the ABC and 2UE in Canberra. Latika won the Walkley Award for Young Australian Journalist of the Year in 2010.
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