Museums and tourism 26 Jul 2010

NMDC has produced a new briefing paper on museums and tourism, highlighting the role of museums as drivers of British tourism, the fifth largest industry in the UK.  The briefing is full of facts and figures and analysis of the role of museums in building the UK brand, attracting international visitors and contributing to the UK’s tourism economy, including:

  • The top five UK visitor attractions in 2009, and eight of the top ten, were museums and galleries.
  • Three UK museums – the British Museum, National Gallery and Tate Modern – were in the top five most visited international art museums in 2009.
  • World-renowned cultural assets act as a magnet for potential tourists from many parts of the world, with visitors citing Britain’s culture and heritage-related assets and activities (including the country’s many free museums) as key reasons for coming here. 
  • In 2008/09 14 million visits were made by visitors from overseas to 17 UK museums. Overseas visitors made up 59% of visitors to the British Museum, 35% of visitors to the National Gallery and 51% of visitors to the National Maritime Museum.
  • By attracting overseas visitors, museums contribute significantly to the tourist economy.  At least £350 million a year is generated by overseas visitors attracted by major museums and galleries.

NMDC argues that developing and promoting museums’ offer could help to attract new visitors to the UK, encourage them to stay longer and improve the quality of the visitor 'welcome' in the UK. NMDC is calling on the Government to involve museums in the development of tourism policy to ensure full consideration of museums’ offer, potential, knowledge and experience, and to invest in transport infrastructure and public spaces in which museums operate to improve the visitor experience.  Read the full briefing paper.

More about the role of museums in economic growth.