News & events > Museum visitors in 2022: who has recovered and who is still struggling?
11 Apr 2023

Museum visitors in 2022: who has recovered and who is still struggling?

In March The Art Newspaper published their list of 100 most popular art museums in the world according to their Visitor Figures 2022 survey. The figures show that numbers in Paris and Seoul were almost back to normal last year, while other major centres such as London struggled to hit pre-pandemic levels.

In the top 5 museums are Musée du Louvre, British Museum, Tate Modern and National Museum of Korea. Although numbers have picked up (a combined 141 million visits) it is still far from pre-pandemic levels (of 230 million visits in 2019). 

However, the recovery is uneven. As The Art Newspaper reports, the UK is having trouble attracting larger crowdswhile around Europe the picture was mixed. While some big museums had slow recoveries on the whole, visitors appear to be returning to museums in Europe.

The fall in foreign tourism has been a factor in many cities, although some tourist spots were almost back to normal – for example, Musée d’Orsay in Paris, was within 10% of its 2019 figure, while the Petit Palais was up 14%.

In Asia, China’s zero-Covid strategy heavily impacted on its museum visitor numbers in 2022. One museum that defied the trend was M+. The Hong Kong museum opened in November 2021, before having to shut again from 5 January until 21 April 2022 due to Covid restrictions. Despite this, it managed to attract more than two million visitors in the remainder of the year, launching itself into the top 20.

Australia and New Zealand had some of the strictest Covid-19 rules, which delayed their reopening compared to other parts of the world, although visitor numbers continued to recover steadily, with many venues regaining around two-thirds of their previous numbers.

A stand-out in Asia was South Korea. A Frieze art fair was held in its capital Seoul for the first time, boosting visitor numbers at the city’s museums. The National Museum of Korea cemented its high position in the list: its 3.4 million visitors earned it fifth place. This is around the same number of people who visited before Covid. 

Read the full article on The Art Newspaper here