Overseas visitors to DCMS-sponsored museums and galleries fell by almost 100 percent during 2020/21, due to pandemic

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16th February 2022 12:39 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

Overseas visitors to DCMS-sponsored museums and galleries fell by 99.8% during 2020/21, due to pandemic: A report by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) presenting the annual performance indicator data for DCMS-sponsored museums and galleries reveals the impact of Covid-19 and restrictions imposed on the sector.

The DCMS data revealed that between April 2020 and March 2021, there were 2.6million visits  to DCMS-sponsored museums and galleries, which due to Covid-19 and the lockdowns which occurred throughout this period, were down 94.5% from 2018/19 when they were 48.2million. This period was the last financial year recorded which was not impacted by the global crisis. 

The survey findings revealed that DCMS-sponsored museums outside of the Capital (at locations including Shildon, Stockton-on-Tees, York, Bradford, Leeds, Manchester, Wakefield, Liverpool, Boston Spa, Wroughton, Fort Nelson, St.Ives, Tring and Duxford) fell by slightly less in 2020/21 than visits to London venues. Outside  of London, over 637,000 visits were recorded, a significant fall from the previous year when 6.9 million were recorded.

When it came to children visiting DCMS-sponsored museums, the data revealed that there had been a 92.7% decrease, from 570,000 visits (accounting for 21.6% of all visits) in 2020/21, to 7.8million the previous financial year.

Overseas visitors to museums and galleries also saw a huge fall in 2020/21, due to travel restrictions implemented througout the pandemic (starting in March 2020 and for the rest of the year). Visitors fell from 23.6million in 2019/20 to just 56,000 in 2020/21 - a massive fall of 99.8%. The number of people traveling to the UK in 2020/21 was estimated to be 4.3million - a fall of 89.1% from 38.5million the previous year. 

When it comes to visitor satisfaction, the survey found that this had fallen from 97% in 2019/20 to 91.9% in 2020/21. However the author of the report highlights that due to the huge fall in visitor numbers this outcome was based on a smaller respondent sample. 

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