The number of tourists visiting Britain’s top attractions fell by as much as 60% at certain tourists sites this summer, with some sites seeing their lowest numbers in history.
The wettest summer in 100 years and the disruption caused by the London Olympics are being blamed for the decline in numbers.
The study, carried out by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), who monitor nearly 2000 tourist sites in the UK, noted that gardens and outdoor attractions in the capital saw the single largest decline in visitors, with an average drop of 21.3%.
The slump in visits of buildings and heritage sites – such as St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and the Houses of Parliament – was marginally smaller at 20.3%, and visitors to museums fell by even less at 13.1%.
Visits to sites throughout the rest of the UK and Scotland also fell, but by far less of a margin than seen in London.
Chief executive of ALVA, Bernard Donoghue, said: “In the first couple of weeks of the Olympics, some of the key central London attractions experienced a huge fall of up to 61% in visitor numbers compared to the same weeks last year. Overseas visitors […] stayed away from London during the Olympics period.”
He went on to elaborate that ALVA would be looking into working with tourist boards and attractions in order to bring more visitors – and particularly those who enjoyed the media coverage of the Olympics – to the capital in the next few months.
The figures have been published amidst claims that the government is systematically neglecting the tourism industry.
Despite David Cameron’s promise that tourism would be made a top priority, many believe that he has not made the most of opportunities for growth in the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games.