After NEMO (Network of European Museum Organizations) published its conclusions in May this year research on the impact of COVID on museums predicting a “long-term dramatic drop in revenue” until the end of 2020.
But at the beginning of the summer, when museums began to open and tourists arrived, the hope arose that the drop in visits would not be as significant as predicted. Although cultural tourism accounts for 40% of its tourism in Europe, a certain positive trend of tourist arrival did not affect the number of visitors to museums. Namely, only in July and August in Croatia there was a drop in visitors of 79,18 percent.
The Museum Documentation Center (MDC) conducted a survey on a sample of the most visited Croatian museums, among which those that traditionally bring the largest number of foreign tourists in the summer stand out. Already in the first wave of the pandemic, many museums reported revenue losses ranging from 75 to 80%, and large museums and those located in tourist areas counted losses in the hundreds of thousands of euros a week, according to the MDC.
According to the annual statistics collected and analyzed by MDC in recent years, the Archaeological Museum of Istria in Pula and the Museum of the City of Split are the most frequently visited among the top five most visited Croatian museums, under which our most attractive ancient monuments are Arena and Diocletian's Cellars, Dubrovnik Museums, and Klovićevi dvori broken connections. The Nikola Tesla Technical Museum and the Museums of Hrvatsko Zagorje are also very popular, but foreign tourists do not make up the majority of the audience.
Although only at the beginning of 2021, when we collect statistical data for the whole of 2020 from all museums in the Republic of Croatia, we will be able to accurately determine the dimensions of the number of visitors, data on visits to these five museum houses, which annually attract a third of all visitors. in July and August, a decline of 79,18 percent was recorded, according to the survey.
Dubrovnik museums in 2019 and August had 84.480 visitors, and this year 18.197 or a minus of 78,4%. Last year, the Museum of the City of Split recorded 99.761 visitors in the middle of the season in two months, and in 2020 15.589 or a drop of 84,3%. The Archaeological Museum of Istria, the absolute champion of attendance for years, lost 55,6% of visits this summer and fell in the summer months from 247.344 to 109.687.
Klovićevi dvori Gallery, although collectively recording an increase of 13% from 17.555 to 19.861 visitors, in its comprehensive report explains that 17.000 visitors were "earned" by the changes caused by the pandemic and earthquake that moved our festival from June to July and returned to their outdoor spaces. on Grič and the Amadeo Summer Stage. When you look at the visit to the exhibitions in Klovićevi dvori and Kula Lotrščak, you can see that the visit dropped from 16.555 last summer to 1.361 this season.
A good indicator is Zagreb's, globally most popular museum, the one with broken connections where the crown "ate" 85,9% of visitors, from last year's 34.045 visitors in July and August fell to 4.788, which is not surprising because a comparison of Croatian Tourist Board data shows that In July 2020, the city of Zagreb recorded a decrease of 76% in tourist arrivals compared to the same month last year.
What this decline means to those museums that make serious money on tickets is best shown by the data provided to MDC by Darko Komšo, director of the Archaeological Museum of Istria. This museum earned HRK 8,4 million on tickets at all its locations last summer in July and August, and HRK 4,5 million in the same period this year. The loss of almost four million means that this agile museum lost almost 150 thousand euros every week this summer. The data will be even gloomier at the end of the year because the season is over, COVID is unfortunately not, school visits and excursions are on hold, and most of Zagreb's museums remain closed.
Croatian museums, like those around the world, have been hit by an unprecedented crisis.
Source: MDC / Photo: Una Laurencic, Pexels.com