<strong>October ‘22 visitor numbers to ASVA attractions published</strong>

The latest ASVA Visitor Attractions Barometer reports, for October 2022, are 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 some challenges, primarily due to the levels of covid disruption that were still being experienced through much of 2021. Whilst Scotland was ‘Beyond Level 0’ in October, under the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework for Recovery, some covid measures, such as compulsory face coverings and the requirement for test and protect information in hospitality settings, remained in place. Consumer confidence in visiting attractions was also very fragile at this corresponding period in 2021, so visitor numbers, particularly to indoor attractions, visitor numbers, were considerably lower than they would be in a ‘normal’ year. It is therefore no surprise that, when we compare visitor numbers across ASVA member sites in October this year with those of October 2021 – where there remained some restrictions in place and there was fragile consumer confidence – the figures for October this year are considerably up.  Visitor numbers were up by 38.9% for the month and a whopping 98.3% for the year to date, January to October.
Further analysis is therefore needed if we are to better understand to what extend visitor attractions are seeing a genuine recovery in 2022. By comparing October 2022 to October 2019 – a pre-pandemic year – we get a clearer picture on how the sector is actually faring now. Comparing October ’22 to October ’19, visitor numbers across all ASVA attractions were down 11.3% for the month and 24.8% for the year to date. Whilst these are strongest visitor figures that have been reported collectively by ASVA members since the start of the pandemic, the sector as a whole is still considerably down on what would be regarded as a normal year’s activity.
Numbers have, however, been gradually improving as the year has gone on, with public confidence clearly returning and there has certainly been a more significant return of international visitors than anticipated, with the high spending North American visitors in particular returning well, and spending plenty of money when with us. Never-the-less, the recovery is slow overall and somewhat inconsistent across different attraction types and locations. On top of this, increases in the cost of doing business, issues with recruitment & retention of staff and, of course, the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on the consumer are undoubtedly now causing challenges which inhibit the sector’s recovery, particularly for those attractions who largely rely on local and domestic visitors.

ASVA continues to shine a spotlight on the challenging conditions many of our members are facing to both the Scottish and UK Governments, highlighting in particular the extreme challenges being faced that those venues where energy contracts are ending, and renewal figures being quoted are for eye watering sums of money. We also continue to stress the importance of our sector to tourism in Scotland and to our country’s economy and cultural standing, as it is clear that next year is shaping up to be another challenging one for our industry.