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Wales’ national museums popular destinations for tourists

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales sees 26% increase in the number of overseas visitors

The number of people visiting Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales’ museums from overseas has grown significantly over the last three years. The number of overseas tourists has increased from 121,000 in 2012 to 152,000 in 2015 based on a six month period, according to a survey by Beaufort Research, conducted between April and September this year.


National Museum Cardiff was the biggest attraction for international tourists, with one in four (25%) of its visitors coming from overseas. The National Roman Legion Museum was also a popular site, with 20% of its visitors classed as international.


There was also a rise in the number of visitors from the UK outside of Wales, climbing from 27% three years ago to 34% this year. Over two thirds of visitors to the National Slate Museum in Llanberis this summer were UK tourists, making it the most successful of the national museums amongst that particular group. Big Pit attracted 48% and the National Wool Museum 36%.


The increase in overseas visitors trend has also been experienced at other heritage attractions in Wales too, with Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service seeing a 3% increase in overseas visitors to its sites over July and August 2015 compared to the same period in 2013. 19% of total visitors to Cadw sites were from overseas destinations, with the highest proportions coming from the USA (4%), Germany (3%), Australia (2%), France (2%) and the Netherlands (2%).


David Anderson, Director General of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales said:


“The results of this recent survey not only demonstrate the appetite for museums in Wales amongst inbound visitors, but also the international standard of our collections and high quality of our visitor offer. 


“Museums are a major draw for tourists and play an important role in promoting our country’s heritage, encouraging spending, and profiling Wales beyond its borders.


“We expect the redeveloped St Fagans National History Museum to attract even more visitors. Many of these will be from outside of Wales, giving a further boost to the Welsh economy.”


Visitors from Wales are also continuing to visit their national museums. The National Waterfront Museum, Swansea attracted the largest proportion of its visitors from within Wales (68%), followed by St Fagans National History Museum.


The tourism industry is going from strength to strength with figures for 2015 showing growth on last year – which was a record breaking year for Wales. The latest results from the Great Britain Tourism Survey for January – August shows that the number of nights spent by GB visitors to Wales was up 4% while spend was up 9%.   Overseas visitor figures for the first quarter of 2015 show that Wales welcomed 137,000 overseas visitors, 5.4% up on the first quarter of 2014.