Britain's tourism industry bounces back from foot-and-mouth with record increase in visitors

A number of historic attractions have missed out on the British tourism industry's recovery from the blows of the 11 September terrorist attacks and foot-and-mouth disease.

Overall, UK attractions enjoyed an 8 per cent increase in visitors in 2002 compared with the previous year. But the Tower of London (down 3.9 per cent), Canterbury Cathedral (down 3.5 per cent) and St Paul's Cathedral (down 6.7 per cent) all suffered from a continuing downturn in visitors.

A spokeswoman for Historic Royal Palaces said visitor numbers to the Tower of London had been hit by a drop in American tourists since the 11 September attacks.

"Last year our US numbers were down by about 13 per cent," she said. "I think that following September 11 people did not book trips, which affected last summer's figures. But we are still the UK's top heritage attraction. We are seeing big increases in European visitors and have been marketing very aggressively to domestic customers."

Other, newer attractions have proved more successful in recovering from the ravages of 2001. The Millennium Wheel - officially known as the British Airways London Eye - was the top admission-charging attraction last year, with 4.09 million visitors, 6.2 per cent up on 2001. The Eden Project had 1,832,482 visitors, an increase of 7.8 per cent.

Farm visits, which were severely curtailed by the foot-and-mouth outbreak in 2001, rose by 46 per cent last year, while wildlife attractions (up 13 per cent), country parks (up 12 per cent) and gardens (up 11 per cent) all enjoyed healthy increases in popularity.

The free admission policy at museums and art galleries resulted in the Science Museum in London welcoming 94 per cent more visitors, while two other London museums, the Victoria and Albert (up 84 per cent) and the Natural History (up 74 per cent), also enjoyed massive rises.

The Queen's golden jubilee celebrations last year helped boost the number of people visiting tourist attractions with royal connections. Statistics from the VisitBritain organisation show Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey each welcomed 7 per cent more visitors than in 2001, while at Windsor Castle numbers were up by 3 per cent.

The spokeswoman for Historic Royal Palaces added that visitor numbers at Kensington Palace had rocketed by 177 per cent, largely because of the popularity of an exhibition of royal wedding dresses to mark the Queen's golden jubilee.

Tom Wright, chief executive of VisitBritain, welcomed the overall upturn in visitor numbers. "We have some of the best attractions in the world and it is greatly encouraging to see that people have been out and about enjoying what they offer," he said.

"From the high-profile new attractions to the smaller rural attractions, visitors have been discovering that England provides us with great experiences right on our own doorstep. These improvements are excellent news for our countryside and urban destinations."

Blackpool Pleasure Beach was the top free-admission attraction but visitor numbers, at 6.2 million, were 4.6 per cent lower then in 2001.

Richard Caborn, the Tourism minister, said: "The huge wealth of visitor attractions across the UK shows just how much we have to offer tourists from home and abroad. Attractions are at the very heart of our tourism industry's continuing recovery; these positive figures bear that out."

Tourism is one of the largest industries in the UK, worth approximately £76bn in 2002. The 23.9 million overseas visitors who came in 2002 spent £11.9bn in the UK. The industry employs about 2.1 million people - 7 per cent of all those in employment in Great Britain. There are more jobs in tourism than construction or transport.

The top overseas market last year was the US, followed by France and Germany.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
peopleGerman paper published pictures of 18-month-old daughter
Arts and Entertainment
'A voice untroubled by time': Kate Bush
musicKate Bush set to re-enter album charts after first conerts in 35 years
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Williams' life story will be told in a biography written by a New York Times reporter
arts + ents
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Merger and Acquisition Project Manager

£500 - £550 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 - £55 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN TAWe are looking to recrui...

Technical Manager – Heat Pumps

£40000 Per Annum dependent on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: They ...

Test Job

TBC: Test Recruiter for iJobs: Job London (Greater)

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis