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EDITIONS
Monday, 26 August, 2002, 07:55 GMT 08:55 UK
'Difficult' year for English tourism
Eden Project
Eden Project did well in its first full year of opening
Visits to English tourist attractions fell by 2% last year, according to a new report.


The tourism industry is recovering

Mary Lynch, English Tourism Council

Rural and farm based attractions, many of which were badly affected by foot and mouth disease, fared particularly badly.

Overall, 26% of attractions were forced to close for part of their normal opening season in 2001 because of the disease.

The survey published by the English Tourism Council, on behalf of the four national tourist boards, also shows the impact of 11 September and the resulting decline of overseas visitors to Britain.

Staying at home

The number of overseas visitors to the UK in 2001 fell by 9% to 22.8m.

Five most popular paying attractions
British Airways London Eye, London: 16.7% increase
Tower of London, London: 2.02m, -12.3% decrease
Eden Project, St Austell: n/a
Natural History Museum, London: 1.69m, 7.6% increase
Legoland Windsor, Windsor: 9.5% increase

Visits to historic properties, popular with overseas visitors, fell by 7%.

The Tower of London, Canterbury Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Windsor Castle and St Paul's Cathedral all saw their visitor numbers drop significantly.

Despite fewer overseas visitors, trips to museums and galleries were up overall by 1%.

The English Tourism Council said this was partly because of the introduction of free entry for adults in November.

Visitors to London's Victoria and Albert museum went up by nearly 8% to 1.45m and those going to the Natural History museum rose by 7.6% to 1.69m.

Theme parks

Other destinations traditionally popular with domestic visitors such as theme parks and gardens were also up on 2000.

Top five free attractions
Blackpool Pleasure Beach: 4.4% decrease
National Gallery, London: 0.4% increase
British Museum, London: n/a
Tate Modern, London: 8.3% decrease
Pleasureland Theme Park, Southport: same as 2000

For example, Legoland Windsor saw a 9.5% increase in visitors to 1.63m.

While Kew Gardens saw the number of people going through its gates rise by 15% to 989,352.

Mary Lynch, ETC chief executive, said: "Attractions had a difficult year in 2001 but are now facing a period of great opportunity.

"The tourism industry is recovering, domestic holidays are enjoying a surge in popularity as many British people look to take a short break in this country rather than go abroad.

"Attractions that invest in providing a quality experience will reap the benefits."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Navdip Dhariwal
"It has been a difficult year for British tourism"
Hywel Jones reports
"The tourism industry in Britain is worth around 70bn a year"
English Tourism Council's Mary Lynch
"Marketing to people who live here is really a key to our success in the future"


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14 Aug 02 | Business
14 Aug 02 | Business
07 Dec 01 | Business
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