Travel Daily UK (1st December, 2011) reports that visits to Britain’s state-sponsored museums have more than doubled since entry fees were abolished in 2001.
Figures released by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, show that 18 million people visited the UK’s free museums in 2010-11, compared with just seven million in 2000-01.
Entrance fees to government-backed museums were abolished on 1st December, 2001 as part of a government scheme to boost culture and heritage. Since then, visits to free museums in London have increased by151%. Outside London the number of visitors has risen by 148%, with the National Museums in Liverpool seeing a rise of 269% while visitors to the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester have increased by 122%.
The 18 million visitors recorded during the past 12 months was the highest number since 2001 and eight free national museums are now in the top 10 UK visitor attractions.
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media & Sport said: “We have the finest museums and galleries in the world. But unlike other major capital cities, they are free to visit in this country. The range of items on display is breath-taking, from world famous paintings to amazing discoveries from the natural world. All of this, free of charge, for anyone to visit as often as they like.
“Our free museums and galleries ensure that culture is for everyone, not just the lucky few. I am particularly proud that we have secured the future of free museums despite the current financial climate.”
According to VisitBritain, Britain’s major museums and galleries earn the country £1 billion a year in revenue from overseas tourists.