NMDC response to Tourism Policy Review
NMDC Chair Mark Jones has written to Culture Minister Barbara Follett and to Christopher Rodrigues CBE, Chair of VisitBritain, welcoming the Government’s renewed focus on tourism and recognition of the contribution that culture makes to UK tourism. Our national museums are both major beneficiaries of income from overseas visitors and drivers of British tourism. As major tourist attractions, museums have a particular role to play in countering seasonality through timing of programming and exhibitions and persuading visitors to lengthen their stay, countering the decline in economic value per visitor.
NMDC is concerned that the UK is at risk of falling behind as a venue for cultural tourism. Figures published by The Art Newspaper show that in 2007, for the third year in a row, visits to London’s major exhibitions declined in relation to those in Paris, Tokyo, New York and Washington. NMDC has also raised concerns about the ageing visitor profile and Britain’s failure to attract visitors from emerging markets and would like to see government action to attract visitors from these markets, with better use of the museum offer via Visit Britain marketing initiatives to bring in new audiences.
NMDC also calls for improvements in the public realm in which the museums operate including public transport links, particularly to museums outside central London, and the completion of the Exhibition Road project to improve visitor access to the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and V&A.