Birmingham museum visits up 31% as Midlands tops tourism growth table
Visits to West Midlands cultural and tourist attractions increased by six per cent in 2015 – the highest growth in the UK along with the East Midlands and South-west.
According to Visit England’s Annual Attraction Survey, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (15th) and mac birmingham (14th) were among the 20 most-visited free attractions in the country last year and the two most popular locations outside of London and the South-east.
The mac birmingham arts complex saw its visitor numbers break through the million mark in 2015 (1,028,371). BMAG enjoyed a 31 per cent year-on-year increase in visitors, attracting 909,935 people. The list was topped for the eighth year by the British Museum in London.
The increase in visits is against a backdrop of decreasing public funding for culture and the arts.
Earlier this year Birmingham city council announced details of a cultural investment inquiry to examine new ways of securing cash for the arts. Partners including Aston Business School, Culture Central, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and Arts Council England are supporting the inquiry and recently published an interim report.
Commenting on the figures, Dorothy Wilson, chief executive and artistic director of mac birmingham, added:
When we reopened to the public six years ago, our intention was to make art as open and accessible to as many people as possible, especially operating in one of Europe’s youngest and most diverse cities. Our visitor figures prove that the region has embraced mac as an important part of their cultural life.
Emma Gray, Director of Marketing and Communications at Visit Birmingham, said:
More people than ever are being drawn to the West Midlands to discover what the area’s many tourist attractions have to offer them.
Whether it’s heritage, cultural, sporting or family venues, this latest Visit England report is further proof that the region is becoming an increasingly popular choice for visitors. It echoes our own data, which shows that Birmingham alone has enjoyed a 17 per cent increase in tourists since 2010, resulting in an overall visitor economy worth £6.2 billion last year.
Meanwhile, Drayton Manor Theme Park in Staffordshire was the 10th most-visited ‘paid for’ attraction in 2015 with 1,210,141 visitors, a 14 per cent increase on the previous year. The Tower of London remained at number one, followed by Westminster Abbey and Kew Gardens.
Overall, visits to England’s attractions rose by two per cent in 2015, with revenue five per cent. England’s gardens, farms and leisure and theme parks have seen the most significant growth in visitor numbers, with a seven per cent increase.
More than 1,500 English attractions were involved in the survey.
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