In a time of political upheaval, Brexit woes and Boris Johnson being, well, Boris Johnson, there’s always one thing that remains constant in Britain – the Royal Family. Steadfast and resilient, between them the heads of the British establishment generate around £500 million a year in inbound tourism to the UK. Maybe not enough to hold up the tipping economy, but definitely a fairly impressive figure.
But since the greatest wedding of all time (GOT Red Wedding aside) back in 2011, there has been a noticeable shift in interest in the Royal Family, as the young, snappily dressed, occasional expletive dropping younger royals begin to take centre stage.
Enter Kate Middleton, the glossy haired, well-heeled Queen to be, who in one little, perfectly manicured little finger wields more buying influence than even the greatest of fashion power houses. Her influence on the world is so great in fact, that she has even wielded her own media phrase – the ‘Kate Effect’.
Everything she wears, touches or does turns to sold. Undoubtedly her biggest influence has been on the British fashion industry where within minutes of her latest fashion ensemble hitting the internet, websites crash and stores are flooded with Middy wannabes. But there’s another area where the Kate Effect is seen in full force – travel.
As the Queen and Prince Phillip slow down their travel calendar and begin to take a step back from international engagements, William & Kate are amping up their air miles, much to the delight of travel companies worldwide. And it seems wherever the young royal family touch down, sales boom.
Research released by Opodo revealed that the company experienced a staggering 45% rise in bookings (note not even enquiries, bookings) for travel to Sydney during a three-day period in 2014 whilst William and Kate were completing their tour of Australia, compared to the same dates in 2015.
The couple also took a family ski break to luxury resort Courchevel in the French Alps earlier this year, causing bookings for flights to the three nearest airports to spike in the week following photographs of the family holiday being released. The company saw a 57% increase in more flights being booked in comparison to the same dates the previous year.
The numbers speak for themselves.
And then of course there is the most recent, and perhaps the most royal fan faired of them all – the couples recent visit to India and Bhutan. A first for both of them, William and Kate’s tour saw them visiting some of India’s biggest and best icons – Mumbai, Delhi and the Taj Mahal – with the purpose of the trip centred around experiencing contemporary Indian life and the county’s efforts to relieve urban poverty and increase opportunities for young people.
Trip Advisor revealed that following the royal tour they have seen a 25% increase in rental bookings in India and a whopping 200% increase in searches for Mumbai, where Kate was pictured playing cricket with local children in a beautifully patterned red dress by Indian designer Anita Dongre (which, incidentally, sold out instantly).
Lukas Balter, Opodo’s destination expert, commented: “When members of the Royal Family travel the world, be it on official visits or for some down time, we commonly see a spike in bookings as Brits feel royally inspired. This current trip undertaken by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is casting the spotlight on two beautiful countries which, you might say, are often overlooked as travel destinations – but not for long.”
Whether you believe in the power of celebrity or not, there’s no questioning the influence of the Kate Effect. And wielding so much power as she does, no doubt every country in the world is hoping for a bit of Middy fairy dust.