ALVA Press releases

TV, film and radio hits bring visitors to UK attractions

23 February 2011: The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) today reports an increase of 0.38% in its members' visitor figures in 2010. Overall, visitor figures at the country's foremost museums, galleries, heritage sites, cathedrals, gardens, zoos and leisure parks increased marginally, holding steady in a year of exceptional circumstances, and after a record-breaking 2009. In total 50% of attractions experienced an increase in figures, and 49.3% a decrease. While bad weather conditions and the impact of Eyjafjallajokull made 2010 a difficult year for organisations, TV, film and radio successes helped some have record years, as Neil MacGregor and Johnny Depp drew in visitors.

Neil MacGregors BBC Radio 4 series A History of the World in 100 Objects and the corresponding display of the objects across the permanent galleries helped the British Museum maintain its position at the top of the list of visitor figures for ALVA members for the fourth consecutive year. National Trust property Antony, in Cornwall, used as the location for Tim Burtons Alice in Wonderland blockbuster, saw visitor figures increase from 25,000 to almost 100,000, following the films success in 2010. Natural History Museum experienced a boost in visitor figures of 13.2% helped by the broadcast of the popular BBC 2 behind-the-scenes series Museum of Life. The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich gained national coverage when Johnny Depp filmed there at the end of the year for the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film, and expects to gain more profile in May 2011 when the film is released.

The Prime Minister has identified tourism as one of the five industries that are key to providing growth and employment for the UK, due to the quick and large economic returns brought by comparatively small investment. However, ALVA fears that the vital investment required may not materialise and remains concerned about the optimum marketing of Britain.

Robin Broke, Director of ALVA, comments: The tourism industry is of huge value to the UK economy, and financially it represents an excellent return on investment. It is a great creator of employment, particularly for young people.

ALVA has surveyed its members about their expectations of the year ahead. 90% of respondents expect the Royal Wedding to bring an increased number of visitors to the UK, whilst only 30% expect it to bring more visitors to their individual site. However, some venues are seizing the occasion to maximise their visitor figures: at Leeds Castle, people will be able to watch the Royal Wedding live in the open air on big screens.

In general, members are positive about 2011, with 90% of respondents expecting their visitor numbers to increase or remain the same. Organisations continue to make big investments: in 2011 Stirling Castle will re-open its palace after a £12 million refurbishment, the National Museum of Scotland will relaunch after a £46m transformation, and Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, will unveil new attraction Nickelodeon Land; 2012 will see major openings at Kensington Palace, the Tower of London and at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

For further information, please contact Robin Broke, Director of ALVA, on 020 7222 1728, or Truda Spruyt or Sarah Watson at Colman Getty on 020 7631 2666, Truda@colmangetty.co.uk / sarah@colmangetty.co.uk

Notes to editors:

Results from survey of ALVA members about 2011

What effect do you think the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton will have on visitor figures at your site?
Increase 31%
Decrease14%
Remain the same48%
Other7%
What effect do you think the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton will have on visitor figures to the UK?
Increase 79%
Decrease3%
Remain the same14%
Other3%
What are your views on the Lighter Later campaign, whereby throughout the year there would be one extra hour of daylight in the afternoons/ evenings?
Supportive45%
Do not support10%
Neutral35%
No answer10%
Will 2011 be as good a year as 2010 in terms of visitor figures?
Better35%
The same55%
Worse7%
No answer3%
Will 2011 be as good a year as 2010 in terms of revenue?
Better34%
The same52%
Worse7%
No answer7%


The 40 members of ALVA comprise the majority of Britains biggest and best known attractions, and are responsible for managing some 1,580 tourist sites. ALVA seeks to represent to Government, the tourism industry, the media and the public, the views and achievements of its members, whilst promoting co-operation and high standards of visitor management

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