Museum visits jump 6% in 2019 - Museums Association

Museum visits jump 6% in 2019

Blockbusters such as Dippy Tour help drive visits
Profile image for Rebecca Atkinson
Rebecca Atkinson
Visits to UK attractions rose by nearly 6% last year, with Scotland seeing an increase just shy of 10.5%.

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) 2019 figures published today museums in London benefited from a 4.15% rise in visits, with the English capital home to the top 10 most visited attractions across the UK.
Tate Modern, which in 2017 knocked the British Museum off the top spot for the first time in 11 years, saw a 3.9% increase in visits in 2018 to achieve its higher ever number of visitors. But the British Museum bounced back, enjoying a 7% boost thanks to its temporary exhibition programme, which included Munch, Manga and Troy.

But the figures show that, after London, it was museums in Scotland that drew the largest crowds. National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle occupied 12th and 13th place in the top 20 respectively, with Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum in Glasgow saw a 74% increase in visits thanks to the Dippy Tour and a Leonardo da Vinci exhibition.

In Northern Ireland, Belfast’s Ulster Folk & Transport Museum saw an 18% rise in visitors during the year in which it hosted the Tim Peake Spacecraft touring exhibition. In Birmingham, the Museum Collection Centre enjoyed 27% more visits thanks to record-breaking open days.

Bernard Donoghue, the director of ALVA, said the UK saw a record number of
overseas visitors to the UK and more UK residents enjoying staycations, as well as blockbuster tours and exhibitions.

“These figures also show the importance of tourism to local, regional and national economies and the vast number of jobs tourism creates and supports in every constituency in the UK,” he added.
“All of the staff at attractions, whether paid or volunteers, front or back of house, not only create jobs and economic growth, they also create the backdrop for peoples' happiest memories."

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