Attractions industry news
05 Mar 2012
Domestic tourism boost for UK attractions
A number of UK attractions recorded increases in visitor numbers during 2011, according to figures from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA).
Announcing its members' visitor figures for 2011 today (5 March), ALVA said that one of largest increases in visitors was seen by the newly refurbished National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh (up 141 per cent on 2010) - making it the most visited attraction outside of London.
Westminster Abbey in London - the focus of huge global attention before and after the wedding of HRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in April - enjoyed a 36 per cent increase in visitors (1.9 million visitors during the year), placing the Abbey among the top 10 most-visited attractions for the first time.
British Museum retained its place as the UK's most visited attraction with 5.85 million visitors - an increase of just 0.1 per cent on last year.
Other attractions that saw major increases in visitor numbers included Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich (up 31 per cent to 1.67 million); National Railway Museum in York (up 17 per cent to 732,000 visitors); and Chester Zoo (up 11 per cent to 1.45 million).
Two English Heritage properties also saw a significant increase in their visitor figures. Wrest Park in Bedfordshire opened in August after the first phase of a 20-year restoration project was completed. The garden welcomed just under 90,000 people, while the largest overall increase of 177 per cent was at Wroxeter Roman City in Shropshire after being featured on the Channel 4 series 'Rome wasn't Built in a Day'.
Bernard Donoghue, Director of ALVA, said: "The figures demonstrate that for Brits who holidayed at home in record numbers last year and for overseas visitors who came to the UK in record numbers last year, our iconic attractions are a 'must see' and a 'must experience'."
"Even at a time of economic restraint those attractions which have invested in refurbishment, new exhibitions, new marketing, new catering and retail products have seen a real return on investment and more money for the visitor economy. Domestic visitors have prioritised visits to free attractions but not exclusively; they are mindful of getting value for money and experiencing great quality and they are finding plenty of examples of both.
"Attractions in rural areas, away from large conurbations, have struggled however, not because of the quality or the attractiveness of the properties but because of the price of petrol to drive to them.
For the full list of visitor statistics for 2011, click here