Terracotta Army bolsters UK's appeal for tourists

Blockbuster exhibitions ensured that Britain's popularity as a tourist attraction remained high last year despite the unusually wet summer.

Among those registering a big increase in visitors in 2007 was the British Museum – courtesy of its terracotta warriors exhibition – and the Science Museum – which put on the "science of spying".

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (Alva), which produced the tourism attraction figures, said those attractions showing the strongest results had achieved their increases through successful, and well-advertised, exhibitions.

The British Museum saw visitor numbers rise by 12 per cent to 5.4 million. The First Emperor: China's Terracotta Army was described as "the hottest exhibition in town". Unprecedented demand to see the figures led to the museum extending opening hours to midnight.

As for the "science of spying" exhibition, its blend of training in codebreaking and spotting a liar led to it being described as "the ideal outing for future 007s" and helped boost the number of visitors to the museum by 11 per cent to 2.7 million in 2007.

London Zoo did even better, with its new gorilla enclosure helping to raise its visitor tally by 25 per cent to 1.1 million.

Liverpool traded in on the pre-publicity for its year as European capital of culture of Culture in 2008, with many of its major attractions showing a dramatic increase. Its World Museum saw figures rise by 37 per cent, the Merseyside Maritime museum by 36 per cent and Tate Liverpool by 17 per cent.

In absolute terms, however, the country's leading tourist attraction last year, despite a 3 per cent drop in numbers since 2006, remained the Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which welcomed 5.5 million visitors.

The tourist attraction with the biggest percentage increase in visitors was the relatively unsung Cragside Estate in Northumberland – up 79 per cent over 2006 to 201,873 visitors. The National Trust-owned estate offers the most technologically advanced mansion of Victorian times. Cragside House, the centrepiece of the estate, was the first building in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity.

While public esteem for politicians may have tumbled, the Houses of Parliament played their part in boosting the tourist industry, seeing 11 per cent more visitors in 2007 (994,926).

Overall, the figures have been described by Alva as evidence that the tourism industry in the UK remains "vibrant".

However, it accused ministers of failing "to take tourism seriously". Robin Broke, its director, said the Government was "preventing the nation's fifth largest industry from optimising its potential earning power and creating significant numbers of new jobs". While some factors, such as the weakness of the US dollar and poor weather, were outside the Government's control, the high prices charged for UK visas were not, he said.

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea