October 8, 2005

Decline in British Museum visitor numbers

Posted at 11:18 am in British Museum

As a result of the July 7th bombings in London, visitor figures for many tourist destinations in London, including the British Museum, have dropped by approximately 25% compared to the same time last year.


London’s Museums, Galleries Lose Visitors After Bombs

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) — London’s top attractions from the Tower of London to the National Gallery lost almost a quarter of their visitors in August after 52 people were killed by terrorist bombs in July, the capital’s tourist agency said.

Visit London surveyed 50 attractions and found there were 24.5 percent fewer visitors in August than in the same month a year earlier, figures released on its Web site showed.

“It’s not good news because tourists are an important part of retail trade,” said Richard Ratner, an analyst at Seymour Pierce Ltd. “We are in a retail downturn anyway and the lack of tourists will only frustrate this. It will take several months to recover and people don’t like flying during these times either.”

The decline followed the July 7 attacks by four suicide bombers that killed 52 commuters, and the four failed attacks on July 21. Other sites polled included the British Museum, the Tate Modern and the London Zoo.

“Free and large attractions once again witnessed the steepest decline in visitor levels during the month,” Visit London said in the release. “It is clear that the London bombs have had a significant impact on all sectors.”

Overall visits for June to August were down 15 percent and early indications suggest that September figures have fallen about 10 percent to 15 percent, Visit London added.

Last Saturday London’s Oxford Street barred traffic for the first time in 223 years for a party to lure customers back to central London stores. Sales in London shops slid 11.5 percent in August from a year earlier, according to the London Retail Consortium.

Coffee Republic said last week there has been a “marked softening” in sales at its Central London bars since July as fewer tourists visit the capital.

The Office for National Statistics will tomorrow publish August data on foreign tourists traveling to the U.K.

Last Updated: October 6, 2005 10:34 EDT

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