What is the “Markle Effect” and how is it causing a billion-dollar tourism boom in UK?

“Suits” actress Meghan Markle, 36, will tie the knot with Prince Harry, 33, on 19 May, but she has already established herself as a culture icon. From being a Hollywood actress, Markle’s status catapulted when she started dating the British prince.

Since late 2017, people have been feeling the waves of the “Markle Effect,” also referred to as the Meghan Effect, which is the cultural and industrial impact dictated by the actions of the duchess-to-be. The term was first used regularly by the fashion industry after Markle cemented herself as a fashion icon following her engagement.

The prime example of the influence of Markle, the first actress to join the Royal family since Grace Kelly in 1956, was when Line the Label’s server crashed due to excessive online orders of the coat she wore in publicity photos announcing her engagement to Prince Harry.

Meanwhile, the British tourism industry is also enjoying the Markle Effect and is optimistic that the union will attract thousands of tourists worldwide. Financial consulting firm Brand Finance predicted that the wedding festivities that will take place at Windsor Castle will rake in £1 billion ($1.42 billion).

The Markle Effect – the new Kate Effect?

All eyes are on Meghan Markle right now. Since her engagement, people began following Markle’s every move. There is no denying her influence as every item of clothing she wore sold out instantly – from her engagement outfit to the bag she carried during her first royal outing.

Last year, Markle ranked fourth in Lyst’s most influential style stars of 2017. Her future sister-in-law Kate Middleton ranked fifth. Without a doubt, the Meghan Effect will skyrocket in 2018 as her wedding approaches and as she takes on more royal duties as Prince Harry’s wife.

Just as Markle makes clothes and accessories fly off the shelves, this is not the first time that a royal has a large influence on the public. In 2011, a similar phenomenon deemed as the ‘Duchess Effect’ or the ‘Kate Effect’ rippled across the world. Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton became a trendsetter overnight. Anything worn by Middleton, and now her children, are instant bestsellers.

Until now, the reverberations of the Kate Effect can still be felt. In 2015, Middleton brought more than $205 million to the British economy. Her children, George and Charlotte, also brought $239 million to the UK.

Bringing billions to UK economy

St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle

As preparations get underway for the wedding of the year at Windsor Castle, experts are already crunching the numbers that Markle Effect will bring to the British economy. The royal wedding is expected to bring a boost to the tourism industry and increase sales in pubs and restaurants as the country celebrates the union. Currently,.

The pair will assume the titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex after marriage. Businesses are making preparations on their own like hiring extra help and extending hours, as well as stocking up on Harry and Meghan-themed souvenirs ahead of the arrival of royal watchers.

According to Brand Finance, £300 million ($426 million) will come from tourism, travel, restaurants, and hotels; another £300 million will be derived from media coverage, picture and television rights; and £250 million ($355 million) will be spent in partying and celebrations. Even souvenir merchants sound optimistic.

Hotels in Windsor booked up shortly after the wedding date was announced in December, probably because of the large number of reporters worldwide covering the royal wedding. Local hotel room prices have already doubled since the announcement, according to News.com.au.

Since late last year, the royal engagement boosts tourism in the country. UK newspaper The Daily Express cited travel website kiwi.com which claims that there is an increase of Americans visiting London this year. Moreover, new data reveals huge spikes in flight searches from US to London as the royal wedding nears. The Express added that Washington DC, San Francisco, Miami, and Los Angeles are the cities with highest searches for flights to the British capital.

The boom of 2011-2012

The 2012 diamond jubilee celebrations

Prior to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in 2011, tourist authority VisitBritain predicted that the event would trigger a tourism boom and would generate £2 billion ($2.84 billion) for the economy. The government even allotted a £100 million ($142 million) marketing fund to use for the event, as well as the Queen’s diamond jubilee and 2012 London Olympics, to sell Britain as a prime tourist destination.

According to the Office of National Statistics, there was an increase of about 354,000 visitors to Britain in April 2011 for William and Kate nuptials. However, it is still unconfirmed whether the government will do the same for Harry and Meghan.

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