BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: UK
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Sunday, 12 August, 2001, 18:08 GMT 19:08 UK
Attractions beat foot-and-mouth
The Tate Modern on its opening night in May 2000
Tate Modern: Doubled its estimated visitor numbers
Millennium visitor attractions are continuing to prosper despite some being hit by the foot-and-mouth outbreak, figures have revealed.

Overall, visitor numbers are 30% above expectations at centres funded by the Millennium Commission.

We had to shut for six weeks... we are now never going to catch up on visitor numbers for this year

Millennium Seed Bank
Some venues say they have even benefited from the farming crisis.

In Belfast, the 10,000 seater Odyssey Arena, the W5 interactive science museum and a 10-screen Warner Village cinema were all said to be "way above target."

In London the Tate Modern art gallery saw more than 5.2m visitors in its first year - more than double the estimate.

In Cardiff, the 73,434-seater Millennium Stadium has scored big successes.

Extra staff

It hosted the Charity Shield football match between Liverpool and Manchester United on Sunday, and has already played host to the FA Cup and Worthington Cup finals.

It has beaten its two million attendance record target by 300,000.

Other sites such as the National Botanic Gardens in Carmarthenshire and the Millennium Coastal Park in Llanelli, have also outstripped projections.

Boy stands outside Eden Project dome
The Eden project: Dubbed the eighth wonder of the world
In Edinburgh, visitor numbers at Our Dynamic Earth have been 20% up on targets, while the number of visitors to the Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick more than tripled expectations.

The Glasgow Science Centre and the city's Imax cinema complex have also pulled in more than expected.

The Lowry, in Salford, Greater Manchester - which houses the world's largest collection of works by LS Lowry - has attracted more than one million visitors in its first year. That is 33% more than projected.

It was the same story in Cornwall, with the Eden Project exceeding its projected yearly figure in a matter of months.

Bucking the trend

And managers at the Magna Centre, a 47m science adventure park in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, were forced to take on extra staff to cope with unexpectedly high visitor numbers.

The National Space Centre in Leicester and the Secret Hills Discovery Centre in Shropshire also said they were on target.

But despite the overall success story, some attractions have been hit hard by the foot-and-mouth crisis.

Exterior of the Lowry Centre in Salford Quays
The Lowry Centre: More than 1m visitors in its first year
The British Museum in London received a 30m grant towards renovating its Great Court.

A museum spokesman said: "Foot-and-mouth has rather skewed visitor figures, which are about 20% down. It has certainly impacted badly on the numbers from overseas."

At the Millennium Seed Bank in West Sussex, a 15% slump in visitor numbers was also blamed on foot-and-mouth.

"We had to shut for six weeks during the foot and mouth crisis and then had to stay closed for a further four weeks because the seed bank is located near a deer park," said a spokesman.

"We are now never going to catch up on visitor numbers for this year."

Visitor numbers also fell in the past year at The Big Idea centre in Irvine, North Ayrshire.

British Museum reading room
But the British Museum was hit by the foot-and-mouth crisis
Chief executive David Mann said: "The main reason is that we had a very quiet first quarter and that was mainly due to foot-and-mouth."

Some attractions, however, actually benefited from the outbreak.

Sheffield's Millennium Galleries said its visitor numbers had been boosted by foot-and-mouth which stopped people viewing attractions in the countryside, while the Millennium Coastal Park said the closure of local footpaths had helped its cause.

Mike O'Connor, Director of the Millennium Commission, said: "The figures are very encouraging and illustrate that Millennium Commission lottery projects are popular.

"Right across the UK visitors are gaining access to a huge range of entertaining and educational opportunities in the arts, sciences and nature.

"Obviously it is still early days, but we can be proud of the success these projects are enjoying."

See also:

30 Jun 01 | Scotland
Hundreds flock to science centre
27 Jun 01 | Wales
Cardiff: Capital of concerts
03 Apr 01 | Arts
Tate leads museum boom
12 Feb 01 | Northern Ireland
Odyssey to go interactive
Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories