Footfall at West Midlands tourist attractions increased by 6% in 2015 – the highest visitor growth in the UK, along with the East Midlands and South West – according to VisitEngland’s Annual Attraction Survey.
The survey revealed that Midland Art Centre (MAC) within Cannon Hill Park (14th) and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG) (15th) were among the 20 most-visited free attractions in the country last year and the two most popular locations outside of London and the South East. The mac birmingham arts complex saw its visitor numbers break through the million mark in 2015 (1,028,371). BMAG enjoyed a 31% year-on-year increase in visitors, attracting 909,935 people. The list was topped for the eighth year by the British Museum in London.
Emma Gray, Director of Marketing and Communications at Visit Birmingham, said: “More people than ever are being drawn to the West Midlands to discover what the area’s many tourist attractions have to offer them.
Whether it’s heritage, cultural, sporting or family venues, this latest VisitEngland report is further proof that the region is becoming an increasingly popular choice for visitors. It echoes our own data, which shows that Birmingham alone has enjoyed a 17% increase in tourists since 2010, resulting in an overall visitor economy worth £6.2 billion last year.”
Meanwhile, Drayton Manor Theme Park in Staffordshire was the 10th most-visited ‘paid for’ attraction in 2015 with 1,210,141 visitors, a 14% increase on the previous year. The Tower of London remained at number one, followed by Westminster Abbey and Kew Gardens.
William Bryan, Managing Director at Drayton Manor Park, said: “When my grandparents first opened the park 61 years ago they never imagined it would become the success it is today and it’s very humbling to see that we’ve become one of the top 10 most visited attractions in England.
Each year we’re continuing to grow and develop. Last year was one of our busiest as our Thomas Land attraction underwent a £2.5 million expansion and we had a record breaking attendance. This year is no different and we’ve got so many exciting plans in the pipeline for the future. We hope to continue to provide families with a value for money, memorable day out.”
Overall, visits to England’s attractions rose by 2% in 2015, with revenue up 5%. England’s gardens, farms and leisure and theme parks have seen the most significant growth in visitor numbers, with a 7% increase.
More than 1,500 English attractions were involved in the survey.