July ‘22 visitor numbers to ASVA attractions published

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

As has been noted in previous reports comparing 2022 figures to those of 2021 presents a number of challenges, as even in July ‘21, the sector was still being disrupted by covid regulations. It was only on 19th July that Scotland moved into Level 0, so much of the month was spent in Level 1,where both limits on the number of people who could mingle from different groups and 2 metre physical distancing restrictions were still very much in effect. Even in Level 0, 1 metre physical distancing was still in effect in indoor venues, impacting on capacities at a number of attractions.  As a result, the restrictions still considerably impacted on visitor numbers for the entirely of the month of July in 2021. It is therefore no surprise at all that, when we compare June 2022 to June 2021, we see visitor numbers up 81% for the month and 148% for the year to date.

It is only when we analyse the 2022 figures against those of 2019, that we can fully understand where the industry is at the end of July, in terms of recovery from the pandemic and a comparison with a more ‘normal’ year. Comparing June ’22 to June ’19, across all ASVA attractions, visitor numbers were down 24% for the month and just under 28% for the year to date. These figures are remarkably consistent with those seen in June, demonstrating that there was a stabilisation of visitor numbers across the board following what had been a period of great inconsistency in the preceding months. 

Looking more closely at the different types of attraction, it is once again outdoor venues that led the way, with Wildlife/Animal attractions up very slightly (+0.4%) and Outdoor/Nature attractions up by 3.3% for the month of July, when compared with the same period in 2019. The majority of indoor venues were still suffering from ongoing restrictions however, with for example, Museums & Galleries down over 34% and Castles/Forts down by nearly 45%.

Given that the figures being reported now, take us through the first 7 months of 2022, it is safe to say that the sector has not experienced and will not experience a ‘full recovery’ in 2022.  Month on month, the picture has improved with visitor numbers gradually improving. However, the improvement rate is very slow and small and indeed remans patchy across attraction type and location. On top of this, recruitment challenges of course persist and the cost-of-living crisis has yet to fully bite and will impact on our sector’s recovery for the rest of the year (and likely beyond).  In our ongoing dialogue with the Scottish Government and STERG, ASVA will continue to shine a spotlight on these challenging conditions and the need for both the Scottish and UK Governments to take action to support our industry through yet another turbulent period.