The Science Museum Group has projected its combined visitor numbers will return to pre-pandemic levels by 2025-26.

The group operates the Science Museum, Science and Industry Museum, National Railway Museum, Locomotion, and National Science and Media Museum. It published the visitor numbers forecast as part of its latest annual report and accounts.

It reports that over a three-year average, its pre-covid visitor numbers totalled 5.2m across its sites. Its latest figures, from April 2022 – March 2023, total 3.8 million visitors.

The Group has achieved year-on-year growth since a 2020-21 low of 360,000 combined visitors. The growth is hoped to continue until the pre-pandemic visitor numbers are surpassed, it said, with 5.4 million visitors across the Group’s sites by 2025–26.

Locomotion is the first of the individual sites set to meet or surpass pre-covid figures. With the display of Flying Scotsman from December 2023 to January 2024, and the opening of New Hall by end of this year, it expects to exceed pre-pandemic averages by 2023–24.

The Science Museum is expected to be the last to surpass its individual pre-pandemic visitor numbers, doing so by 2026–27. The report cites the Power Hall reopening in 2024 and the completion of other maintenance work in its projection.

By 2030, the Group said it plans to welcome more than five million visits to its physical sites every year.

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