Britain’s tourist attractions, especially those which charge an entry fee, are struggling to get back to the visitor numbers they experienced pre-pandemic, according to a recent report by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA).
A combination of fewer international visitors, particularly from China given that travel restrictions have only recently been relaxed there, and the cost of living crisis, are cited as the key reasons why visitor numbers to AVLA member attractions were 23% lower in 2022 versus 2019. Perhaps the most significant finding in the report was that while paid for attractions saw a 101% year-on-year increase in visitor numbers, free to enter attractions fared much better with 183% more visitors.
So what can be done to help turn this around? Firstly, it is expected that the 2023 figures will be much improved on 2022’s given that the UK will welcome more visitors from east Asia this year. But for those tourist attractions whose viability depends on getting paying customers through the door, especially those outside London, more may need to be done to make their offer even more compelling as consumers remain cautious with their spending.
Live entertainment for visitors to experience as part of their visit, exhibitions, exclusive food and drink festivals, traditional markets and numerous other types of outdoor events are crucial in enhancing value. That means thinking creatively about the types of events possible on-site and identifying spaces that would be suited to staging them.
To ensure a site is best placed to enable the professional hosting of outdoor events as and when required, throughout the year, a high quality power infrastructure will be needed. Rather than relying on temporary generators, which can be expensive to hire and noisy, or running lengthy trailing cables from nearby buildings and unnecessarily creating trip hazards, the solution is to permanently install on-demand power distribution units from Pop Up Power Supplies®.
These units are available in three formats – the pop up or retractable unit, the in-ground-unit or power bollard – which offer distinct advantages according to the site. The specification will need to consider a combination of factors from the ground conditions to aesthetic impact.
For example, in an architecturally sensitive location such as the gardens or grounds of an historic building, you may wish to utilise a lawned area or courtyard as a space for events. The power distribution unit must, therefore, be as discrete as possible so it is barely noticeable unless an event is taking place. Here, providing the ground conditions are suitable, a pop-up power unit or in-ground unit would be ideal as the only evidence of their presence when not in-use is the lid – and this can be ‘hidden’ further by specifying a lid which can be matched to the surrounding surface.
This is how the team at Chiswick House approached their power distribution infrastructure. They chose pop up units featuring 16A and 32A sockets in single and three-phase, with RCBO protection, to provide outdoor power for a variety of purposes including seasonal events at the Burlington Pavilion.
Being submerged in the ground, and only visible once raised from the ground to be used, they perfectly met the needs of the Chiswick House and Gardens Trust in order to protect the visual appeal of the site.
In-ground power units are similarly low-key, but instead of raising up when needed, they remain in the ground with access via a flip lid. They can also be used with the lid locked down for continued unattended use.
With a power bollard, the power unit will always be visible but in the form of an elegant bollard. When access to power sockets is required, authorised users can simply remove the cover and connect the leads.
For specification guidance and more information about the three options available from Pop Up Power Supplies®, visit www.popuppower.co.uk.