Attractions enjoy a visitor increase

Some good news for UK tourism after a number of leading attractions enjoy a visitor increase. They reported a big spike in visits owing to the fine Summer of 2013 according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA).

Leisure Week reported that Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard came out the big winner in terms of numbers increase. Helped by the opening of the new Mary Rose Museum, the Dockyard saw an increase of 55% over a year with more than 674,000 people visiting the attraction.

Other UK tourist hotspots such as Kew Gardens, London Zoo and Stonehenge all saw huge leaps in visitor numbers in 2013 compared to a rainy 2012 while the British Museum came out on top with 6.7 million people coming through its doors – a 20% increase on 2012.

Other attractions to fare well included the National Gallery (up 14% to 6.03 million) and the Natural History Museum (up 6.7% to 5.35 million), while London attractions had a 12% increase in 2013, with English attractions overall up 5% and Scottish attractions also up 5%.

A total of 67 of the 197 association members’ venues had increases of more than 10% last year, compared with only 16 that enjoyed such rises in 2012.

Bernard Donoghue, director for ALVA, said that the increase was due to a boost from 2012 Olympic Games, a rise in foreign tourists and more families taking a ‘staycation’ during the hot summer.

He said: “There was an Olympic effect because London attractions in particular were the backdrop for a lot of the international Olympic media coverage, such as the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, and the National Maritime Museum.”

Donoghue also added that an estimated 73% of British adults visited a heritage site last year, while overseas tourism also increased due to a favourable exchange rate for European tourists.

Michael Bennett of specialist leisure PR and communications consultancy Pelican said: “Let’s hope last year’s encouraging performance is repeated again this summer and that some fine weather gets people visiting out national parks as well as our museums.”

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