Attendance numbers at tourist attractions in England climbed three percent in 2010, according to VisitEngland, the country’s tourism board. However, that modest increase should be marked with an important asterisk: while institutions with free admission witnessed a six percent increase, those that charge a fee took a one percent hit.
The free category includes most of England’s major museums, many of which saw huge jumps in attendance numbers. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London saw an impressive 15.8 percent increase, to 2.63 million visitors, and Tate Britain’s figure jumped 10.9 percent, to 1.66 million. Overall, the museum category increased five percent.
Even Britain’s most popular tourist attraction, the British Museum, saw a dramatic increase in attendance, shooting up five percent, to 5.84 million visitors.
In New York, the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have both released growing attendance numbers in recent years, and both announced ticket price hikes over the past few months (though the Met’s is a suggested donation). It remains to be seen what effect those increased prices will have on attendance.