Visits to leading UK attractions fell by 70 per cent in 2020 | attractionsmanagement.com news
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Visits to leading UK attractions fell by 70 per cent in 2020
POSTED 31 Mar 2021 . BY Tom Walker
Tate Modern was the UK's most visited attraction during 2020 – despite visits being down by 4.7 million on 2019 figures. Credit: Shutterstock/Ron Ellis
The UK's major visitor attractions recorded just 45.4 million visits during 2020 – a 70 per cent fall from the 151.3 million visits they received in 2019.

Visitor figures for the year, released by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) today (31 March) show how badly COVID-19 has impacted the sector.

The UK's most visited attraction during 2020 was Tate Modern with 1,431,704 visits – down from 6.1 million in 2019.

Two attractions particularly affected by the pandemic were ones that would normally be among the country's most visited sites. The Royal Museums Greenwich saw a 96 per cent decline in visits (111,263 visits, down from 2.9 million in 2019), while Edinburgh Castle saw an 87% drop – falling from the 13th most visited attraction to the 44th.

When the initial lockdown commenced in March 2020, all visitor attractions were forced to close their doors.

Further restrictions during the year were then applied to individual nations or English regions – rather than the entire UK – meaning that the impact of COVID-19 restrictions was decidedly uneven.

While some attractions, especially those outdoors, were able to reopen for business, many others were forced to remain closed and were among the last to reopen during the summer – before being told to shut again, as further pandemic waves began to hit the UK.

Bernard Donoghue, director of ALVA, said: “Our annual figures for 2020 reflect what a devastatingly hard year the attractions sector and the wider visitor economy faced.

"Tourism is the UK’s 5th biggest industry and, as these figures show, was hit first, hit hardest and will take the longest to recover.”

Donoghue added that the government's approach to open other businesses ahead of visitor attractions will do nothing to help the pressures faced by the sector.

“As we approach Easter, one of the economically important times for our members, we continue to question the government’s decision to open non-essential retail but not indoor attractions, who will also miss the May Bank Holiday as well.

"In the past 14 months, most of our members have been closed for every Bank Holiday, and therefore we continue to ask the government to introduce a new Bank Holiday for 2021 at the end of September to thank the NHS and key workers and help the tourism industry repair our balance sheets.

“In the Budget, earlier this month, we welcomed the fact that the chancellor recognised several of our requests including an extension to the furlough scheme and keeping VAT at 5 per cent until the end of September, and we ask him to keep an open mind on further extending that rate for as long as necessary. "

The ALVA membership comprises more than 2200 tourist sites, ranging from museums, galleries, palaces and castles to zoos, historic houses, heritage sites and leisure attractions.
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Jobs   News   Products   Magazine
NEWS
Visits to leading UK attractions fell by 70 per cent in 2020
POSTED 31 Mar 2021 . BY Tom Walker
Tate Modern was the UK's most visited attraction during 2020 – despite visits being down by 4.7 million on 2019 figures. Credit: Shutterstock/Ron Ellis
The UK's major visitor attractions recorded just 45.4 million visits during 2020 – a 70 per cent fall from the 151.3 million visits they received in 2019.

Visitor figures for the year, released by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) today (31 March) show how badly COVID-19 has impacted the sector.

The UK's most visited attraction during 2020 was Tate Modern with 1,431,704 visits – down from 6.1 million in 2019.

Two attractions particularly affected by the pandemic were ones that would normally be among the country's most visited sites. The Royal Museums Greenwich saw a 96 per cent decline in visits (111,263 visits, down from 2.9 million in 2019), while Edinburgh Castle saw an 87% drop – falling from the 13th most visited attraction to the 44th.

When the initial lockdown commenced in March 2020, all visitor attractions were forced to close their doors.

Further restrictions during the year were then applied to individual nations or English regions – rather than the entire UK – meaning that the impact of COVID-19 restrictions was decidedly uneven.

While some attractions, especially those outdoors, were able to reopen for business, many others were forced to remain closed and were among the last to reopen during the summer – before being told to shut again, as further pandemic waves began to hit the UK.

Bernard Donoghue, director of ALVA, said: “Our annual figures for 2020 reflect what a devastatingly hard year the attractions sector and the wider visitor economy faced.

"Tourism is the UK’s 5th biggest industry and, as these figures show, was hit first, hit hardest and will take the longest to recover.”

Donoghue added that the government's approach to open other businesses ahead of visitor attractions will do nothing to help the pressures faced by the sector.

“As we approach Easter, one of the economically important times for our members, we continue to question the government’s decision to open non-essential retail but not indoor attractions, who will also miss the May Bank Holiday as well.

"In the past 14 months, most of our members have been closed for every Bank Holiday, and therefore we continue to ask the government to introduce a new Bank Holiday for 2021 at the end of September to thank the NHS and key workers and help the tourism industry repair our balance sheets.

“In the Budget, earlier this month, we welcomed the fact that the chancellor recognised several of our requests including an extension to the furlough scheme and keeping VAT at 5 per cent until the end of September, and we ask him to keep an open mind on further extending that rate for as long as necessary. "

The ALVA membership comprises more than 2200 tourist sites, ranging from museums, galleries, palaces and castles to zoos, historic houses, heritage sites and leisure attractions.
Sign up here to get the Attractions Management weekly ezine and every issue of Attractions Management magazine free on digital.
RELATED STORIES
FEATURE: People: Anthony Rawlins


The Digital Visitor CEO explains a new whitepaper on how attractions can survive 2021 and beyond
UK attractions leaders call on government to use £120m Festival of Britain Fund to support sector


The heads of several major organisations, including The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), the Museums Association (MA) and the National Museums Directors Council (NMDC), have called on the British government to use funding intended for the upcoming Festival of Britain in order to provide emergency funding for the arts, heritage and entertainment sectors.
Prince Andrew 'no longer president of ALVA'


The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) has confirmed that HRH The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, will no longer represent the organisation as its president.
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World's top 100 museums and galleries suffer 77 per cent fall in visits during pandemic
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Chinese attractions industry entering 'growth phase'
The Chinese visitor attractions market is set to bounce back from the pandemic with significant growth over the coming years.
BRC founder Bob Rogers: '2021 will see a surge in our industry'
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Vekoma Rides has a large variety of coasters and attractions. [more...]
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05-07 May 2021

TEA SATE Europe 2020

PortAventura World, Tarragona, Spain
09 Jun 2021

IAAPA Expo Asia 2021

The Venetian Macao, Macao, China
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