V&A Dundee reaches 500,000 visitors and boosts local attractions

Impact of new museum starting to show
Alex Stevens
The new V&A Dundee has contributed to an upsurge in visitors to other heritage attractions in the area, according to a recent report into visitor attendance.

The 2018 Visitor Attraction Monitor published by Glasgow Caledonian University's Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism shows that more than 340,000 people visited the museum in its first three months.

Discovery Point, which is next door to the V&A and showcases RRS Discovery, the ship that took Scott and Shackleton on their 1901 expedition to the Antarctic, saw a 40.5% growth in visitors. The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery & Museum saw a 31.2% rise.

John Lennon, the director of the Moffat Centre, said: "There is no doubt visitors are seeing more of the country and the benefits of tourism are being spread across Scotland.

"There's been a lot of interest in the V&A but that interest has spread out and has had an impact on nearby attractions, like Discovery Point, the McManus Art Gallery and the Botanic Gardens. It has brought tourists to a part of the country that was not really on the visitor map.”

The National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle continued to be Scotland’s most popular attractions, with 2,227,773 and 2,111,578 visitors respectively in 2018, up 2.9% and 2.3% on the previous year.

The total number of recorded visits in Scotland fell by 0.5% to just under 61.5m, with record-breaking temperatures making indoor attractions less appealing to the public.

V&A Dundee opened on 15 September last year, and its 500,000th visitor was recorded just over six months later, on 30 March. The museum’s own surveys show that 36% of visitors had come from Scotland but from outside the local Tayside region, with 17% from the rest of the UK and 9% from overseas.

The first temporary exhibition, Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, was seen by 95,766 people, and the museum has held more than 300 events including public lectures, design workshops, tours and school visits since it opened. The museum has issued 7,500 memberships.

The museum’s director, Philip Long, said the opening period had “surpassed all expectations”, and the museum was “flourishing as a hub of creativity and learning”.

Fiona Hyslop, the cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, said: “V&A Dundee is a powerful symbol of Dundee's new confidence and is not only raising the national and international profile of the city but is increasing Scotland’s attractiveness to tourists looking for world class cultural experiences.”

The museum’s next temporary exhibition, Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, which closed at London's V&A in February, will open on 20 April.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.