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Domestic visitors shun UK attractions

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Domestic tourism suffered in 2005 after the 7 July bombings in London, although figures released today by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) show a large increase of visitors for Tate Britain and Kew Gardens.

Many of the attractions in central London suffered following last summer’s terrorist attacks; admissions to the National Gallery, Tate Modern and the London Eye were all down on 2004’s figures by more than 10 per cent.

Defying the slump in tourism of the other major London attractions were the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, which were up by 25.6 per cent and Tate Britain, whose Turner Whistler Monet exhibition helped them record a 58 per cent increase in admissions.

The ALVA listing not only shows a slump in tourism post 7 July but it also shows a potential for growth in the attractions sector in 2006.

Katherine Grice of Visit London said: “The recovery was strong by November and December, and we are expecting the market to grow by 1.2 per cent in 2006. The appeal of London as a destination is still there.”

Tom Wright, VisitBritain’s chief executive, said: “Some of London’s attractions certainly faced a tough summer last year, as the attacks in July dampened domestic tourism particularly. However, 2005, was another strong year for inbound tourism to Britain with 30 million international visitors spending £14bn (US$24bn, 21bn euro) here and a record 12.1 million customers spending over £375m (US$653m, 547m euro) in London’s theatre-land.”

Britain’s lasting popularity is reflected in an online survey of 35,0000 consumers worldwide. The survey revealed that ‘Brand UK’ is the best regarded of 35 countries, confirming Britain’s appeal as an international visitor destination – with heritage and culture particularly strong lures.

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Domestic tourism suffered in 2005 after the 7 July bombings in London, UK, although figures released today by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) show a large increase of visitors for Tate Britain and Kew Gardens.
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