Britain’s wash-out and sports-led summer has significantly dented the number of visitors heading to the country’s attractions, according to new figures.
Statistics from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) found its London members saw an average 15% drop in visitors throughout May to August 2012. Its ‘Gardens and Leisure’ sector, whose members include the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and ZSL London Zoo, saw the biggest drop at 21.3%, while attractions such as the Tower of London, House of Parliament and Westminster Abbey saw decreases of 20.3%.
Generally around England attractions saw a 4.7% decline in visits, with Edinburgh and Glasgow’s indoor venues benefiting from the wet weather as tourists avoided the drenched countryside. As well as entry fees the attractions added that retail sales had dropped as a result.
Bernard Donoghue, chief executive at ALVA is now concerned the pattern will continue, saying that summer for AVLA’s members is like retail’s Christmas, “once lost the business can’t be won back”. However, he said the association had viewed the Games hosting as a long-term benefit and is working with local and national tourist boards to boosted numbers in the coming years.
“These figures from our 43 members, who manage some nearly 2,000 tourist sites and welcome more than 100 million domestic and overseas visitors each year, are definitely sobering reading and show that the summer of 2012 has been a difficult time financially for our most popular and best-loved visitor attractions,” he added. “It is our belief that for gardens and outdoor attractions across the UK, the appalling weather during much of the year has led to one of the worst trading periods since 2001 and Foot and Mouth.”