Heritage Tourism in 2020: an overview

© David Gill

The impact of lockdowns due to the pandemic is making itself clear on the visitor figures released by ALVA. Reduced visitor numbers will see a reduction in income from ticket sales as well as through retail outlets. We have yet to see the impact on those who pay annual memberships.

These figures use the numbers for the Top 10 properties for the National Trust (NT), the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), English Heritage (EH), and Historic Environment Scotland (HES). The number for Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) is based on three properties: the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, and Hampton Court.

The 44 properties represented in this histogram received over 20 million visitors in 2019; in 2020 it was just over 6 million. The Top 10 properties for HES dropped by nearly 4 million visitors.

Heritage Tourism in 2020: Historic Royal Palaces

© David Gill

One of the last heritage sites I visited in London prior to lockdown was the Tower of London (for the Heritage Alliance conference). ALVA has now released the visitor numbers for three of their properties in London: the Tower, Hampton Court Palace, and Kensington Palace. The combined number of visitors in 2019 was 4.5 million; in 2019 it fell to 730,816.

Historic Royal Palaces: pandemic impact

Tower of London © David Gill

The Tower of London is one of the Top Visitor Attractions in the UK with 2.9 million visitors in 2019. With Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace these three properties attracted 4.5 million visitors in 2019. However, due to the pandemic closure, there is a major impact on income for the properties (“Coronavirus: Tower of London Beefeaters face job cuts due to pandemic“, BBC News 20 July 2020).

Data Source: ALVA. Chart © David Gill.