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The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions has published its latest survey of UK museum and gallery visitor numbers. In 2009 the National Media Museum, Bradford, saw 613,923 visitors - a decline of 18 per cent on 2008. The 2008 figure was 745,857 which had been a 4 per cent rise on 2007. Many other museums and galleries - especially those with free admission like the NMeM - had seen a boost to their numbers with the public turning to free activities due to the recession.
Colin Philpott, the NMeM Director commented: "We are disappointed that our visitor numbers were down in 2009 but this comes on the back of a period of considerable growth in the previous three years.
A number of factors have had an impact on our visitor numbers. Our summer holiday programme did not prove as popular as in previous years. Along with some other West Yorkshire attractions the ‘staycation phenomenon’ (people holidaying in the UK rather than abroad) appears to have passed us by as “stay at home” holidaymakers chose traditional UK tourist destinations such as the coast and cities like York.
Maintaining growth in visitor numbers is a challenge for any attraction and we have not had a major new gallery opening since Experience TV in 2006. However during 2010 we have already invested in a £400,000 redevelopment of the foyer area including a new Games Lounge, an interactive exhibition examining the history of videogaming, which opened last week and which is already proving extremely popular. More improvements are planned and we are confident we can improve visitor numbers over the coming years.
As important as visitor figures are, the Museum is doing extremely well in terms of other measures of success. Survey results show that our visitor satisfaction rates remain consistently high. In addition, the National Media Museum, alongside its sister venues - the National Railway Museum and the Science Museum - were last year named as the first museums in the UK to be awarded World-class Customer Service status."/font>
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