London attractions still lure tourists

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Several key London attractions saw increased visitor numbers in 2008, despite the economic downturn.

The British Museum proved to be the most popular, with 5.9m visitors, an increase of almost 10% over 2007.

But the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) said many of its members were anticipating a difficult year in 2009 due to the recession.

The biggest draws were some of the city’s range of free admission museums and galleries such as the Tate Modern.

The association’s numbers do not include several key private attractions such as Madame Tussauds and the London Eye.

Of the admission-charging attractions, the Tower of London was the highest ranking in the group’s survey, with 2.16m visitors, an increase of almost 10% over 2007.

ALVA, a private organisation, represents tourist attractions with more than one million visitors a year.

Robin Broke, director at ALVA, a private organisation that represents tourist attractions with more than one million visitors a year, said: “In the current financial climate, a healthy tourism industry is more vital than ever.”

Despite the overall strong performance in 2008, 36% of ALVA’s membership across the UK said they expect to welcome fewer visitors in 2009.

Liverpool’s role as the 2008 European Capital of Culture helped boost visitor numbers to the city.

Tate Liverpool saw a 67% hike in visitor numbers, up to 1.08m, while the Merseyside Maritime Museum had a visitor increase of 69% to 1.02m.