Customer numbers on the UK’s main points of interest are nonetheless nearly 1 / 4 decrease than earlier than the pandemic, because of an ideal storm of Covid, Brexit, vitality costs and the broader monetary disaster, in keeping with the sector’s commerce physique.
Figures revealed on Friday by the Affiliation of Main Customer Points of interest present that whereas the variety of visits to its websites rose by 69% in 2022 in contrast with the 12 months earlier than, this was nonetheless 23% decrease than in 2019.
Bernard Donoghue, the organisation’s director, described the annual enhance as “most likely pretty much as good as we may hope for”, given the unprecedented challenges dealing with its members, which embody the UK’s most well-known museums, galleries, cathedrals and parks.
“We as a sector have by no means been hit by so many variables, that are fully out of our management, all on the similar time,” he informed Enterprise Issues. “Not simply Covid, but in addition the price of dwelling disaster, vitality prices and the hangover of Brexit.
“Staffing and recruitment is among the best challenges to tourism and hospitality, and a few of that nice problem is changing individuals … who left throughout Covid – however partly due to Brexit – to return to their residence international locations within the EU or additional overseas.
“That entire basket of uncontrollable variables has by no means hit us like that earlier than. So it’s nonetheless outstanding that our customer points of interest are rising, surviving, thriving every day, regardless of all of that.”
Whereas some points of interest, notably these which can be free and people in London, noticed sturdy year-on-year development, the image was blended elsewhere within the UK. The capital noticed the most important development on common, with visits up by 152%, with Scotland up by 128% and Northern Eire up 120% on 2021.
Essentially the most visited indoor attraction and second most visited general (after Windsor Nice Park) was the Pure Historical past Museum, which noticed a 196% enhance in guests to 4.6 million in 2022. The British Museum, up 209% with 4.1 million, moved from sixth place to 3rd.
The Nationwide Museum of Scotland, up 199% to nearly 2 million guests, was in ninth place general. Guests to Titanic Belfast leapt by 177% to 624,000.
In London, the continued shortage of tourists from China and the far east had been a major problem in 2022, stated Donoghue, including that elsewhere, paid-for points of interest and notably these exterior metropolis centres had felt the brunt of petrol costs and the broader monetary disaster.
“When petrol prices had been an actual subject, metropolis centres did effectively, as a result of they might depend on individuals getting there from public transport. However distant locations had been being affected by individuals saying, ‘really, it’s going to price me fairly some huge cash to drive there.’”
He welcomed the extension of tax aid for museums and galleries on this week’s price range, however referred to as on the federal government for better assist with vitality prices (“the best risk to our monetary sustainability”), a discount in VAT for customer points of interest, and a renewed advertising and marketing push for abroad vacationers.
“I’ve to say, the worldwide media protection of the Queen’s funeral and the forthcoming coronation will assist that enormously. It should make a distinction to these people who find themselves drawn to the UK due to these issues,” he stated.