The economics of a royal wedding, blessing or curse?

Updated: 2011-04-28 18:46


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The economics of a royal wedding, blessing or curse?

The economics of a royal wedding, blessing or curse?

Editor's notes: To many Britons, the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, which is set for Friday, is not only a royal wedding but also an event that will bring about a change of fortune for Britain's flagging economy. However, some analysts beg to differ.

Can the wedding revitalize the British economy? Or will it be just a drag on the Britain's economy? 

To Boost the Economy

At a time of recession, the Royal Wedding is expected to give Britain's economy a lift, with tourism, merchandising and broadcasting best placed.

The economics of a royal wedding, blessing or curse?

600,000 Visitors:
According to Visit London, the official tourist office for London, at least an additional 600,000 visitors from home and abroad will flock to London for the wedding, adding about £30-50 million to London's economy.

£200-million Food&Drink:
Food and drink will account for the highest expenditure at £200-million, with alcohol-making up almost £80-million of the sum, while sales of souvenirs and wedding memorabilia are expected to reach £157.5-million.

Based on the statistics, some analysts believe that the wedding could reignite the British economy. 

Merchandising, increased tourism to the UK and a feel-good factor that increases retail sales in general could give the economy a £620 million or more consumer spending boost.

The economics of a royal wedding, blessing or curse?

Neil Saunders, consulting director of retail researchers Verdict

Obviously it will be a great time of celebration for the country, and some of our members will benefit, especially those in retail.

Sara Lee, spokeswoman for Britain's Federation of Small Businesses

Our survey suggests that the wedding will be a great economic boost for London's economy and a good indicator of the potential economic benefits of the Olympic Games when more than ten times this number of visitors is expected.

Mark Ambler, economist at PwC. PwC conducted the research as part of an ongoing project to monitor the economic impact of large events in the capital in the run up to the Olympic Games next year.

To Drag the Economy 

The economics of a royal wedding, blessing or curse?

Despite the expected boost to retail and tourism, some economists warn that the wedding wouldn't have a long-term impact on the economy. 

As the wedding day falls between two long holiday weekends, many Britons may make an eleven day vacation by taking off the three days in the middle, which, they say, will decrease productivity and hurt Britain's GDP.

It would be wishful thinking to hope this would make people feel significantly better or spend more money. While these things can have a short-term impact on the timing of economic activity, they don't tend to have any sort of lasting effect.

Jonathan Loynes, chief European economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London.

The economics of a royal wedding, blessing or curse?

Overall, I think the impact on the economy will be negligible. Much more important will be what is happening in the economy overall, for example, inflation developments.

Howard Archer, chief UK economist at research group IHS Global Insight

The royal wedding could even harm British growth because of the extra day's holiday. Allowing most workers a day off could knock some 0.25 per cent from British gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter.

Philip Shaw, an economist at Investec financial group