In Britain, we've got it all backwards. While over in France, the government goes out of its way to help its tourist industry, ours sits on its hands. Perhaps that's as you might expect. After all, France is France. They have the wine, the sun shine, the certain je ne sais quoi. That's why France ranks consistently as number one in the who's who of hot holiday destinations.
What have we got? Well, there are the pork pies and the Wensleydale, I suppose. Then there's the rain. But I kid you not, little old Great Britain is still the eighth most visited tourist destination on the planet. Imagine that. And that's before the government has even lifted a finger.
But there's something else going on that may well see Blighty rise up the medals table the falling pound. As Jonathan Compton explains in this week's cover story in MoneyWeek magazine, tourism is highly exchange-rate sensitive. Every "1% rise or fall in the exchange rate results in a 1.4% swing in earnings from tourism". That's a lot of royal tea towels.
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While the pound may pick up in the longer run, it's currently giving our tour guides a massive boost from abroad. Of course, the flip side is that it's dearer for the rest of us to venture overseas. But who needs overseas? More of us are choosing to take our holidays in the UK. So that's a double whammy in favour of British tourism.
Now, I can't tell you what stocks to buy to profit. That would be cheating. If you're already a subscriber to MoneyWeek, go ahead and start reading. And believe me, it's worth a look. If you're not already a subscriber, don't despair just click here.
The duke that dodged four billion
You can't have failed to notice the passing of the sixth Duke of Westminster in the news. According to reports, his son, just 25, has come into a £9bn inheritance. But perhaps the really amazing thing is how the family dodged a £4bn tax bill from HMRC. Depending on how you look at it, you might think that is a terrible thing. You might think it is ingenious. Either way Simon Wilson takes a look at the controversy it's thrown up in this week's Briefing. Not a subscriber? Sign up here.
Nine billion is a lot of money on young shoulders. But by all accounts Britain's most eligible bachelor is a pretty grounded chap. To date his biggest extravagence appears to be his wine collection. Not counting the £5m 21st birthday bash in the company of Prince Harry, of course. But then again, £9bn is an awefully big temptation to have in your back pocket. Just how will the new duke bear up to the challenge? Have a look at this week's MoneyWeek profile on Hugh Grosvenor, the seventh Duke of Westminster.
The death of the hedgies
From trust funds to hedge funds, the hedgies have been a big part of the financial landscape for the past 15 years. "But after years of dismal overall returns, they now appear to be interminal decline", says Matthew Lynn in this week's City View. There are many reasons for that. We won't go into them here, you'll just have to read the article. (Remember to bag that subscription if you haven't already.)
But the bottom line is that we won't miss them unless you're a divorce lawyer. Hedgies are "known for their spectacularly expensive marriage breakups", says Matthew. Seriously though, markets will be a whole lot healthier once they're gone. Find out why in this week's MoneyWeek magazine, out today.
This April Fool is no joke
There's loads more in this week's issue. MoneyWeek regular Edward Chancellor discusses something the US Treasury considered introducing ten years ago that was met with open ridicule at the time. Well, it's back on the agenda, and let me tell you, no one's laughing now.
Then there's David Prosser talking about savings and pensions. Sarah Moore asks whether the boom in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) is over. That's one for the passive investors among us. She's also on the house-price trail, looking at where property prices are heading next. I look at five reasons to visit Rio de Janeiro once the Olympic circus has left town in Travel, while wine critic Matthew Jukes recommends a perfect white for the summer. What are you waiting for? Sign up to MoneyWeek magazine now.
Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.
Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.
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