9 NOVEMBER 2020
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If the 2019 figures are anything to go by, once the pandemic is out of the way, VisitEngland is in for a boom.
The trend last year was for growth in visitor numbers and whilst 2020 was clearly a disaster, it could have been worse, and for many people the inability to travel abroad opened up their eyes to what the four home countries have to offer.
In 2019 it was England’s gardens that attracted the highest growth in visits increasing by 10% over the previous 12 months. Farms and Places of Worship also saw strong growth in visitor numbers, up 8% and 7% respectively. And Historic Houses/Castles and Wildlife Attractions/Zoos saw good growth increases in visits, both up by 5%.
Overall England’s visitor attractions saw a rise of 3% in visitors in 2019, the highest year-on-year increase since 2014, and 4% growth in revenue compared to the previous year.
VisitEngland Chief Executive, Sally Balcombe, said: “From world-renowned museums, galleries, castles and historic houses to rural, wildlife and outdoor experiences, England’s outstanding range of visitor attractions are a crucial and valuable part of our tourism offer, boosting local economies right across the country.
“England’s attractions continued to provide a rich and varied canvas to capture the imagination of domestic and international visitors and our stunning gardens were a proven tourism draw, admired at home and across the world for their beauty and variety.
“Millions of jobs and local economies rely on tourism and this annual survey is also a timely opportunity to highlight the dedication of visitor attractions across the country who have been working so hard to welcome visitors back safely, adapting and innovating to meet new ways of working and still providing a great experience.”
Topping the list of free attractions was the British Museum with 6.2m visitors followed by the Tate Modern with nearly 6.1m and the National Gallery with 6m.
The Tower of London remained the most visited ‘paid for’ attraction in 2019 with almost 3m visits followed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which saw a 25% increase in visitors to 2.3m and Chester Zoo with 2.1m.
Visitor admissions grew in most types of attractions in 2019 with many of England’s regions seeing an increase. Attractions in the East Midlands and East of England saw the highest percentage growth, with increases of 7% and 6% respectively.
These statistics are from a survey by market research company BVA-BDRC, which gathered information from 1,308 English attractions. International visitors in 2019, up 2%, and more local day trips to attractions rose by 2%.
For a number of the attractions, data has been included with kind permission of ALVA (Association of Leading Visitor Attractions), English Heritage, Historic England, The National Trust, as well as several destination management organisations.
Business Travel News has also been doing its bit during the pandemic with ON TOUR featuring UK attractions on a regular basis.
We’ve two more ON TOURS to publish before the last issue of the year 21 December. Staying near York the attractions were outstanding.
Middlethorpe and Castle Howard
The North Yorkshire Moors, Whitby and Captain Cook
27 July: August in the UK
20 July: Southampton to Exeter
13 July: Darlington and back. By plane and train
11 May: The Picture Palaces
6 April: Railways update
3 February: Glasgow Airport
20 January: London to Glasgow (or vice versa)
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