Since the year 2018 ERIH in cooperation with the Department of Statistics and Survey of the Regionalverband Ruhr (Ruhr Regional Association) carries out an annual survey of industrial heritage sites in Europe. Data from this pan-European survey assist ERIH in its engagement with politicians, the press and the public. It also helps ERIH to prioritise its activities and projects so as to be most effective in expanding and developing the network and strengthening the sector.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic the survey 2020 was postponed to 2021. It included data from 2019 and 2020 and some additional questions relating to how sites are dealing with the pandemic. This allowed us to assess the impact of the pandemic on a year-to-year basis.
Who did we interview?
Based on the questions ERIH is frequently asked, a questionnaire was compiled on the topic groups core data, target groups, perspectives, measures and the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. This formed the basis of a Europe-wide online survey in May 2021.
376 operators of industrial heritage locations were contacted, namely all members of the ERIH association as well as all sites of the Basque (E), the Ruhr (D) and the Silesian (PL) Route of Industrial Heritage.
The main results
73 advertised locations from 12 countires participated in the survey. The main results of the Europe-wide survey are summarised following; the complete 'ERIH Industrial Heritage Barometer 2020/21' can be found below in the download area.
From the participating locations
- 48% are in public ownership, 36% are run by private organisations, 14% by foundations and 4% by other status
- 80% open all year, 20% seasonal
- all are dependent on public subsidies of varying amounts to finance ongoing operations
- 39% have 1-5 full-time employees, 19% 11-20 employees, 8% more than 50 employees
The industrial heritage sites appeal to broad sections of the population (general public: 68 from 73 participating sites, families: 62. In addition, they pursue an important educational mission; for 32 of the locations, school groups are an important target group. The tourism target groups (Best Ager Over 50s: 53, Educational Travellers: 40, Young People: 60 and Mice Group: 29) are highly rated.
Due to their attractiveness, the industrial heritage sites have a trans-regional appeal: 60% of the visitors come from the region, 30% from the respective country, 10% are international visitors.
The annual visitor numbers are varied and depend, for example, on location, size and attractiveness. In general they have risen steadily in the last years. In 2020, the Corona pandemic resulted in a significant slump.
Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic in 2020
Because of the measures ordered by the authorities to combat the Coronavirus pandemic
- the sites had to close on half of the intended opening days
- most of the opening days took place under Corona restrictions
- special events, rentals pp. could not be carried out
- visitor numbers decreased by 56% compared to 2019
- 79% of all sites developed replacement offers during corona-related closures
- revenue shortfall in the amount of 28% compared to 2019
- 34 % of the sites had to reduce staff (especially seasonal workers)
- financial support for loss of income due to Corona:
- from public authorities: received by 51% of the sites (public funding is 12% higher than in 2019)
- from others: received by 24% of the sites
- 14% see site operation as permanently at risk