Tue, 19 Jan 2021

The Louvre, the world's biggest museum, suffered a drop in visitor numbers of over 70 percent in 2020 as the Covid-19 health crisis kept tourists away.

The Louvre, which closed for six months during France's coronavirus lockdowns, saw visitor numbers plunge to 2.7 million in 2020, down from 9.6 million in 2019 and 10.2 million in 2018 -a record year.

Profits fell by more than 90 million euros compared to 2019.

Visits by foreigners, notably from the United States, China, Japan and Brazil, who usually make up three-quarters of total visits, all but dried up, especially during the usually busy summer months.

Da Vinci exhibition

The museum managed to limit the damage with its blockbuster Leonardo da Vinci exhibition that attracted 1.1 million visitors and ended before the first French lockdown in the spring.

Da Vinci code: Leonardo brings all-night art to the Louvre

It used the downtime to boost its digital offering, with the number of online subscribers growing by over a million from 2019 to 9.3 million, and the louvre.fr website registering 21 million hits.

The museum found new ways to raise cash, including with the worldwide distribution of the documentary A Night at the Louvre: Leonardo da Vinci, destined for movie theatres, and "Bid for the Louvre", organised with Christie's which it said had raised 2.4 million euros through the auction of works by living artists and of "once-in-a-lifetime experiences".

It also livestreamed a New Year concert by DJ and songwriter David Guetta, part of a fundraising drive, attracting 16 million viewers.

Tourism in France

The French government has reported income from tourism dropped by 61 billion euros, or 41 percent, in 2020 to 89 billion.

Tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne called the annual shortfall "a shock", but said that France -- the world's number one tourist destination -- "had weathered Covid relatively well".

"France has been more resilient than other world destinations," he told France Televisons, thanks to visitors from neighbouring countries and French people holidaying at home.

(with AFP)

Originally published on RFI

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