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Rain and Olympics stifle UK attractions

09 October 2012

Britain’s tourist attractions took a bashing this summer because of the wet weather and the London Olympics.

According to figures from The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), some of the key central London attractions saw visitor numbers drop up to 61% in the first few weeks of the Olympics.

“For London attractions the Olympic period was one of their worst trading periods in living memory,” said chief executive Bernard Donoghue.

“For visitor attractions the summer is their equivalent of retailers’ Christmas, once lost the business can’t be won back.”

Visitor numbers to member attractions in London saw an average decrease of 15% during May to August 2012 compared to the same months in 2011.

The Gardens and Leisure sector, including the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and London Zoo, saw the largest decrease of 21.3% in London.

Among the Heritage and Cathedrals sector, including Tower of London, Kensington Palace, and St. Paul’s Cathedral, visitor numbers dropped by 20.3% and this affected their retail sales by 20.2%.

In Scotland, gardens and attractions in rural locations suffered due to the bad weather and transport costs, but museums and galleries in Edinburgh and Glasgow performed well.