ALVA Press releases

UK’s visitor attractions come through snow to offer second staycation summer for ash-trapped Britons

27 May 2010: The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) today reports its members’ visitor figures holding steady during early 2010, despite one of the coldest winters in a generation. They expect another booming summer for the UK tourist industry, as uncertainty over flights keeps Britons at home. There are also signs of green shoots, with increased business confidence leading to a surge in bookings for corporate events.

Members of ALVA have reported an average decrease in visitor figures of 3% between 1 January and 30 April 2010, compared to the same period in 2009. However, revenue from corporate events is increasing, with members reporting bookings rising by up to 60%, although overall bookings have yet to return to their previous levels.

Earlier in 2010 ALVA members outlined their hopes for the incoming government, which included incentivising tourists to visit and stay in Britain, not taxing them disproportionately and enhanced government funding to enable VisitBritain and VisitEngland to promote the UK to potential tourists abroad. Despite this there was very little mention of the UK’s fifth largest industry, tourism, in any of the parties’ manifestos.

The UK’s leading attractions invest heavily to ensure that visitors’ experiences are enhanced, from temporary blockbuster exhibitions at museums and galleries, to new immersive experiences at gardens and zoos, to festivals and events at heritage sites. If Britons holiday at home for a second summer, there will be plenty of new things to experience.

Major investment also results in increased visitor numbers – for example, the Natural History Museum reports a 19% increase in visitors for the first four months of the year, following the opening of the Darwin Centre last year. National Museums Liverpool is still feeling a positive effect from Liverpool as European Capital of Culture in 2008.

Robin Broke, Director of ALVA, comments: “2010 has provided many challenges for Britain’s tourist attractions, as they compete with the elements to bring visitors through their doors. Our members are confident that they have everything in place for Britons to enjoy a great summer in the UK, avoiding the uncertainty and hassle of disrupted flights. As ever, Britain’s tourist attractions will rise to the challenges ahead and remain optimistic. "We hope that the new Government will take tourism seriously, both for its ability to create jobs quickly, and for its potential for excellent return on investment.”

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