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July 23rd, 2013
05:15 PM ET

Can royal baby spark economic boom?

Only in London can a baby bump lead to a tourism bump. Some travel agents said they saw an uptick in royal baby fever leading up to the final weeks of Catherine's, the Duchess of Cambridge's, pregnancy.

But now that the future king has arrived, it's the city's top tourist attractions that are getting ready to deliver.

Tourism website Visit Britain sent a tweet inviting people to celebrate the birth of the royal baby by checking out some of Will and Kate's favorite hangouts.

Hotels in London are hosting special royal baby themed tea parties. There is a luxury suite at the Grosvenor House Hotel which has been transformed into a royal palace nursery. And if travelers fly Virgin Atlantic and happen to be "third in line" for their flight, they get the royal treatment at the airline's upper-class clubhouse.

Economics reporter for The New York Times Catherine Rampell said the tourism impact will likely be minimal, pointing instead to a bump in retail sales.

"You have a lot of commemorative bibs, and shot glasses, and t-shirts, and things like that, that people might be more likely to spend their money on," said Rampell. "Those types of stores could see a little bump in activity."

The birth of the royal baby has not boosted the tourism industry in the same way the royal wedding did, when there was a lot more formal pageantry in the streets and events for visitors to go to, said Rampell. But it may give a small lift to tourism in the months to come.

"This is free advertising for London, for Great England," said Rampell. "The next time people are planning a vacation, that may be top of mind, hey, that looks like a fun place to be, people are celebrating in the streets, I want to be part of that fun, even if it's six months from now."

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