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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 17/03/2023

The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) has released the visitor figures of its members for 2022 during Scottish Tourism Month.  The total number of visits to ALVA sites in 2022 was more than 123 million, which was a 69% increase on the previous year. However this represented a decline of 23% on the 161.2 million visits in 2019 to the top 349 ALVA sites. 

Indoor sites enjoyed the strongest year-on-year growth with a 176% increase, ahead of mixed sites at 44% and outdoor sites reported a far more modest increase of 5%. The most-visited attraction in the UK continued to be Windsor Great Park, which is managed by the Crown Estate, which received more than 5.6 million visits. This reported an increase of 4% on 2021 visitor figures. 

For Scottish attractions, the highest ranking free attraction  continued to be the National Museum of Scotland (NMS), which was in eleventh place and saw an 199% increase to 1,9 million visitors. NMS was followed by Edinburgh Castle, which was the  most visited paid for attraction in Scotland and rose to sixteenth place with more than 1.3 million visitors.

National Museum of Scotland

Scottish National Gallery and Glasgow's Riverside Museum ranked respectively in seventeenth and nineteenth place. 

Several Scottish attractions were also among the largest percentage increases in visitor numbers for 2022. This includes the People‚Äôs Palace in Glasgow, which saw a 4,411% increase to 146,389 visitors) and Glasgow Cathedral saw an increase of 658% at 256,001 visitors.

Trends by attraction type

Museums & Galleries reported a rise of 158% more visits compared with 2021 figure.
Visits to Heritage & Cathedral sites and Zoo's increased by 55% and 15% respectively.

Gardens & Leisure (-0.3%) attractions experienced the weakest performance, with a slight decrease by 0.3% compared to 2021. However, when comparing 2022 with 2019 by attraction type, it was revealed that both Gardens & Leisure (+3%) and Zoos (-4%) were welcoming similar volumes of visits as before the pandemic. The remaining types of attractions all ended 2022 with visitor numbers still between 23% to 32% below their 2019 figures.

The cost-of-living crisis was also reflected in the annual figures for 2022. Attractions who offer free entry, except for special exhibitions and events, reported the strongest year-on-year growth in visits with a 183% increase. In comparison, attractions which charged admission experienced a 101% rise in visitors.

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