I am giving some serious thought to going back to University next year to study for an MA in Heritage Tourism. Probably not the best time to be contemplating a change of direction but tourism (and heritage) is something I'm getting more and more involved in. Some indication of the importance of heritage tourism can be gained through examination of visitor figures and this is where an Internet connection becomes a key tool.
According to official sites for instance the Georges Pompidou Centre of Art and Culture in Paris attracts over 7 million visitors annually. The paintings and sculpture exhibited at the Louvre attract more than 5 million visitors, the Paris based Musee d’ Orsay and the Picasso Museum each receive several million visitors and these and other art galleries support Paris’s tourist image as a city associated with a rich heritage of art. London's top heritage attraction, The British Museum currently attracts around 5.6 million visitors a year and 4.8 million visit the National Gallery.
Museums, theaters, art galleries, heritage sites, castles and country houses consistently rank among the most popular UK tourist attractions. Of course none of these will be as popular as the Hartlepool Tall Ships race in 2010 which will attact 1,000,000 visitors in just 4 days. Read it and weep at the Tower of London, Tate Gallery and the Natural History Museum where their ANNUAL visitor numbers are only about 2.6 million visitors for the Tower, 2.2 Million at the Tate Gallery and a pathetic 1.9 million visit the Natural History Museum.