Fall in travel tourism is top reason given for decline in museum visitor numbers during summer reopenings, reveals survey

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14th January 2021 10:22 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

Fall in travel tourism is top reason given for decline in museum visitor numbers during summer reopenings: The latest survey by Nemo (Network of European Museum Organisations) has found that a fall in travel tourism is the top reason given by museums for the decline in visitor numbers (compared to previous levels), during their summer reopenings.

The survey, which polled 600 museums, mainly from countries in Europe and at a time when 68% were temporarily closed due to Covid-19, found that other reasons included the 'interruption of the school year' (64%) and a 'fear of crowded places' by potential visitors (54%). Increased safety protocols were also cited (53%), as well as a small percentage (3%) being unable to reopen because they were not able to offer the required safety and hygiene features. 

The latest research is a follow-up survey on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe. A fifth of the museums surveyed in November last year (2020) reported a 75% drop in visitors compared to previous levels during their reopenings last year. Half the museums polled saw a fall of between 25% and 75%. 

Museum income losses due to Covid-19

The research also looked at income losses due to the pandemic (even during their periods of being reopened), with three-quarters reporting a loss of between 1,000 and 30,000 Euros per week. Some had lost even more, putting the figure at 100,000 Euros per week. 

According to the findings, income loss was mainly due to a reduction in ticket sales (60%), however one in 10 museums cited the halt of special visitor programmes. As a result of the fall in visitors, more than half the museums polled are planning to discontinue programmes and projects (55%), reduce visitor capacity (49%) and reallocate staff tasks (42%).

Asked about when they expect visitor numbers to return to their pre-Covid levels, nearly half (45%) think it will happen by September 2021, however, two-fifths are expecting it to be longer, with these museums not attracting their usual visitor levels until after summer 2022.

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