<strong><u>January ‘23 visitor numbers to ASVA attractions published</u></strong>

The first 2023 ASVA Visitor Attractions Barometer reports, for January 2023, are now available to view in the Members Area of our website.

As with reports in 2022, this year, in consultation with our partners at the Moffat Centre, we have decided to continue to produce two reports per month to give you the best possible insights available. The first report will compare 2023 figures with those of last year. However, we are well aware that there were still periods in early 2022 in particular when trading conditions were far from normal. For example, for much of January 2022, we still had a considerable number of Omicron-related restrictions in place, which severely limited visitor numbers, particularly in indoor settings. We also know that members have valued, and continue to value, comparisons with pre-pandemic conditions when analysing visitor data, Therefore, we have decided to produce a second report in parallel with the 2023/2022 report. This second report will compare figures from 2023

with those of 2019, the last full year of trading before the pandemic struck in early 2020.

When comparing January 2023 figures to those of 2022, we can immediately see the importance of comparing data with 2019, and not just last year. Overall, visitor numbers to ASVA member sites were up just under 59% in January 2023, when compared with those of January 2022. However, this presents an entirely distorted picture of the ‘recovery’. It is only when we analyse the 2023 figures against those of 2019, that we clearly see that the sector has not yet reached the levels of visitation that we were experiencing pre-pandemic. In January 2023, visitor numbers were down just under 13% from those experienced in January 2019. This is actually as healthy a picture as we have reported for some time, so there are certainly grounds for some optimism here when looking to the season ahead. However, the January data alone does not provide us with enough evidence of patterns as yet to make any confident statements about the year ahead. What we can say with confidence is that it appears fully justified, for this year at least, that we continue to report figures compared not just with the year before, but also with 2019. Only by looking at figures from before the pandemic will we see just how much the sector has bounced back from the ravages of the last few years and the multiples crises we have been dealing with, and indeed continue to deal with.