Survey finds touring exhibitions do not make a profit

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6th May 2016 15:05 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

According to new market research by the Touring Exhibitions Group, public organisations who tour their exhibitions around venues in the United Kingdom do not make a profit.Survey finds touring exhibitions do not make a profit

Entitled The Economics of Touring Exhibitions Survey Report, the market researchers surveyed representatives from 222 museums and galleries and discovered that the participants value the greater benefits of going on tour, such as an increased profile, income generation or off-setting costs and audience development. The survey also revealed that the recovery of some costs was common, although not the recovery of all costs.

On average, the budget for a touring exhibition in the United Kingdom is £62,500, however, a lot of museums and galleries are taking exhibitions on tour with a budget of £5,000 or less.

Of the respondents, 24 per cent said that the average cost of a touring exhibition is £1,000; however, 36 per cent said that a touring exhibition costs around £1,000 to £3,000.

The survey revealed that 25 per cent of the organisations in the survey use 90 – 100 per cent of the core funds to produce touring exhibitions, whereas 46 per cent raise 50 per cent or more from external means. A further 67 per cent make the touring costs back through hire fees.

The Economics of Touring Exhibitions Survey Report uncovered that 55 per cent of touring exhibitions attract hire fees of less than £3,000, whereas 32 per cent of the exhibitions are free. Of the venues that hire the touring exhibitions, the majority struggle to hire within their budget.

The report highlighted that the majority of venues hiring touring exhibitions were in the North of England (79 per cent). On the other hand, the lowest proportion was in the Midlands (27 per cent).

Of the organisations in the survey, 51 per cent who offer touring exhibitions are not confident enough to support their tours by fundraising. The average organisation holds one or two touring exhibition per annum.

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