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Minster up 10 places in annual poll of leading visitor attractions

16 Mar, 2018

Article by Sharon Atkinson

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It is a great privilege to welcome so many visitors from all over the world and we are grateful to them

A record-breaking increase in visitors to York Minster last year is reflected in the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) visitor figures for 2017 released today.

The Minster rose 10 places to number 51 in ALVA’s annual survey of its top 237 sites in the United Kingdom with almost 692,000 visitors in 2017 – an increase of 13 per cent on the previous year.

Commenting on the Minster’s performance, the Very Reverend Vivienne Faull, Dean of York said:

“It is very exciting to learn that York Minster was one of ALVA’s best performers in 2017. It is a great privilege to welcome so many visitors from all over the world and we are grateful to them for making the Minster one of the UK’s “must-see” destinations last year.”

Dean Faull said that a turning point six years ago forced the Minster to overhaul its approach to customer service and visitor welcome.  She said:

“Back in 2012 we received just over 422,000 visitors and it became clear that we had to up our game and take a more active role in York’s thriving tourism economy.  We developed strong links with city, regional, national and international tourism organisations to persuade visitors to come to the Minster, to the city of York and to explore the wider region.

“We also recognised that the quality and warmth of welcome is perhaps the most important success factor for any visitor. Our visitor experience team is dedicated to providing a world class welcome for each and every person that enters the Minster. We want our visitors to enjoy their time with us, come back in the future and to feel that they can recommend the Minster to their friends and family.

“The response from visitors has been overwhelming with people coming to experience the magnificent gothic medieval architecture, see the newly restored Great East Window, climb the central tower, attend Evensong or just to enjoy sitting quietly in this beautiful place of worship, observing the daily routine of life in a working cathedral.”

ALVA attractions across the UK recorded a 7.4 per cent average increase in visitor numbers in 2017. Scotland and Northern Ireland had record tourism numbers with Scotland outperforming the rest of the UK for the 6th year in a row.  Concerns that the sector would be adversely affected by global security issues were not reflected in the figures in London where many ALVA members experienced exceptional growth. Anecdotal evidence suggests that economic issues – including the costs of food drink and travel – might be more critical for the attractions in central London that saw a decline in visitors last year.

The National Railway Museum, also based in York, were positioned next to the Minster; ranking 50th place.

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