April ‘22 visitor numbers to ASVA attractions published

The latest ASVA Visitor Attractions Barometer reports, for April 2022, are now available to view in the Members Area of our website.

As with the reports generated from January to March, comparing April 2022 figures to those of April 2021, is still largely irrelevant for the majority of attractions, or at least certainly for those whose activity is undertaken indoors. For virtually the whole month of April 2021 (up until 26th April), most of Scotland remained in Level 4 and therefore virtually all indoor attractions across the country were closed. Many outdoor attractions were open of course – and indeed were trading well – but the overall picture remained one where the majority of the sector was unable to trade. With that backdrop, reporting an increase in visitor numbers in April ‘22 of over 343% when compared to April ’21, does not provide us with an accurate picture of where the sector is at in terms of consolidation and recovery this year so far.

It is only when we analyse the 2022 figures against those of 2019, that we can fully understand to what extent the sector is building back from the devastating last two years caused by the pandemic. Comparing April ’22 with April ’19, across all ASVA attractions, visitor numbers were down by 24.6% for the month and down 31.2% for the year to date. These are reasonably encouraging figures, especially considering that the Easter holidays in 2019 were notably busy for many members. These relatively good numbers certainly back up what I have been hearing anecdotally from members over the last few months, with many feeling cautiously optimistic about the year on the back of comparatively good visitor numbers. Of course, had there been no pandemic and had we been reporting visitor numbers down by almost a third for the year, we would not be using phrases like ‘cautiously optimistic’ or ‘comparatively good’. However, these figures are certainly a lot better than we have been experiencing over the last two years and at least put many members on the path towards recovery.

The main reading to take from the April data is that we cannot yet say that we have a sector in ‘full recovery’. I have stated for a number of months that this will be a year of consolidation at best for many and having reviewed the data for April, I see no reason to alter this prognosis. In our ongoing dialogue with the Scottish Government and STERG, ASVA will continue to shine a spotlight on the challenging conditions we face impacting the recovery, including recruitment, rising costs of doing business and, of course, the cost of living crisis.