Bumper Baths time

Seems visitor numbers to the City’s Roman Baths have reached their highest level for a generation with foot-fall up seven per cent on January to August last year.

The Roman Baths.
The Roman Baths.

The good news was passed on to the heads of some of the UK’s top visitor attractions who have been visiting some of Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Heritage sites to discover how to boost their business.

Top bosses from sites including the British Museum, Kew Gardens and Edinburgh Zoo attended the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions’ (ALVA’s) 73rd Council meeting, held at Bath’s Assembly Rooms.

Industry experts discussed how best to share knowledge and practices as a benchmark for success, in order to capitalise on a bumper year where UK visitor attractions benefitted from an increase in overseas visitors thanks to the good weather and the Olympic legacy.

Members were shown around the latest developments at the Fashion Museum and Roman Baths & Pump Room – which is the UK’s third most-popular charging heritage attraction; having welcomed 1,064,177 worldwide visitors last year – and saw the new developments at the Council-run sites since the last ALVA Council meeting in Bath six years ago.

The Fashion Museum occupies the basement at The Assembly Rooms.
The Fashion Museum occupies the basement at The Assembly Rooms.

Councillor Paul Crossley (Lib-Dem, Southdown), Leader of Council, said: “We’ve been delighted to welcome the representatives of other leading visitor attractions to Bath & North East Somerset Council’s heritage sites.

Cllr Paul Crossley Leader, B&NES
Cllr Paul Crossley
Leader, B&NES

It’s been good to learn more from our peers as well as share our positive experiences which, thanks to the implementation of our development programme, have seen Roman Baths visitors reach the highest numbers for a generation. In January to August 2013 visitor numbers increased by 7% compared with the same period last year.”

Bath & North East Somerset Council has implemented a series of improvements to the heritage site, through its Roman Baths Development programme, to enhance the visitor experience – conserving the monument, re-telling the Roman story and making it more accessible for all.

Lord Lee, the Chairman of ALVA, said: “I have a considerable affection for the Roman Baths – every time I come here the visitor experience has progressed even further in interest, excitement and excellence!

“My relationship with Bath goes back to 1988 when I presided over the restoration of the spa fountain in the Pump Room as Tourism Minister. In 2010 I was proud to be invited to acknowledge the completion of the first phase of the Roman Baths development. It’s always a personal pleasure for me to come back here.”

The members of ALVA are drawn from the UK’s most visited museums, galleries, palaces, castles, cathedrals, zoos, historic houses, heritage sites, gardens and leisure attractions. The 44 members manage nearly 2,000 sites and welcome over 100 million domestic and overseas visitors each year (25% of the visits made annually in the UK). To qualify for membership, the attractions must host over a million visitors per year at their singly or centrally-managed sites.