More than 15 months ago, Travel Agent pondered if the recession will harm cultural travel. About six months ago, we found a survey saying the niche remained bold in the face of the economic crisis (at least in the U.S.). The good news continues today as a Morey Group survey, titled the 2009 Cultural Attraction Attendance Trend Report, reports that cultural attraction attendance increased 2.1 percent in 2009. The report details attendance, membership, and pricing trends in the cultural attraction industry, based on a survey of 189 cultural attractions.
Additional key findings include:
* General admission attendance (paid attendance excluding school groups and events) increased 2.8 precent
* Attractions charging less than $10 had a total attendance increase of 3.8 percent and a general admission attendance increase of 3.2 percent, while those charging $10 or more had a total attendance increase of 1.3 percent and a general admission attendance increase of 2.6 percent
* Aquariums, zoos, and children's museums had the highest percentage increases in both total attendance and general admission attendance. Art museums and science museums experienced decreases in both areas
* Membership increased by 2.2 percent. Cultural attraction membership represented 2.8 percent of total attendance
* Average adult admission cost was $11.18, up 5.9 percent from 2008
* Average child admission cost was $7.55, up 6.4 percent from 2008.
"Since museums offer an affordable and high quality experience, cultural attraction visitation usually increases during an economic downturn," said John Morey, president of Morey Group. "After the concerning 6.6 percent drop in 4th quarter attendance in 2008, we are pleased to see this trend of overall growth in 2009."