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VisitEngland 2017 data: growth continues in turbulent times


Visitor numbers and revenues are on the rise at England’s attractions despite turbulent times caused by Brexit and terrorism, according to a report by VisitEngland.

The report by VisitEngland outlines key trends in admissions, charges, revenues and marketing.

2% rise on visits in 2017

This figure has remained consistent since the post London Olympics boom in 2013 and 2014. Despite challenges such as Brexit and terrorism, attractions in England were able to maintain 2016 levels of overseas visitors.

Visits from children and schoolchildren dropped by 7% and 2% respectively. This was driven by sites in the South East and London and VisitEngland say it could be fuelled by safety and security fears rising from terrorism.

London attractions experienced an overall drop in visitors of 2% compared to the previous year.

Historic properties, farms see visitor growth

Properties such as mills, monuments, boats and burial grounds saw a turnout increase of 8%. Historic houses and palaces, along with visitor and heritage centres and places of worship all saw increases of 4% on 2016.

historic england

The most visited free attraction in England was the British Museum, with nearly 6 million visitors. The most visited paid attraction was the Tower of London with 2.8 million visitors.

Farms saw growth of 5%.

Museums saw a decline of 1% – the second consecutive year of decline for museums.

Gross revenue rises, alongside fees

Gross revenue increased by 7% for the second consecutive year: all categories of attraction reported growth.

Adult admission fees increased by 4% in 2017. lower than the 6% increase in 2016, and in line with inflation. The average adult charge in 2017 was £8.99.

89% of attractions that charge for child entry (no change on 2016) have increased child admission fees by an average of 7%. The average child charge in 2017 was £5.85.

visitengland report

Marketing spend on the rise, Instagram and Pinterest continue to grow

17% of visitor attractions increased their marketing spend, while 10% decreased. Those that increased tended to be those that saw an increase in visitor numbers, growth predominantly driven by overseas visitors.

93% of attractions have a website, 89% use some form of digital communications (a slight increase on previous years). More than one third have an online booking system, at 37%.

Digital communications appear to be working. The attractions that used them saw a 2% increase in visitors. The attractions that did not saw a 3% decline.

For the second year in a row, Instagram and Pinterest are becoming more in use by visitor attractions. 44% now use the social networks, up from 22% in 2015. However, it does appear that attractions are narrowing in on their social media use – the proportion of sites using “other” social media has more than halved since 2016. This suggests attractions are investing more time into the mainstream social media.

visitengland data

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Michael Mander

Michael Mander

I am a journalist from Essex, England. I enjoy travelling, and love exploring attractions around the world. I graduated from Lancaster University in 2018. Twitter @michael_mander.

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