The Great Church Visitor Count is a research project which will see digital counters installed at churches and chapels in England and Wales and gathering numbers from visitor books at churches across the UK.
Unlike cathedrals, museums and historic houses, there is no reliable data on the number of people who visit churches each year. Currently, the only data gathered is from the entries recorded in visitor books and of people who attend services. These are thought to seriously underestimate the number of visitors and tourists who visit churches and chapels.
Counting visitors numbers is vital in building the long term sustainability of historic churches; the data can inform decision making about how best to translate visitor numbers into income for a church and its upkeep, and can help us argue for proper tourism marketing of our wonderful buildings.
We will work with partners to actively gather visitor numbers for churches, chapels, meeting houses and cathedrals.
We will publish our results annually.