When talking about economic loss in the tourism sector associated with the Coronavirus, we can easily picture closed restaurants, hotels, rental services, and certain stores, located near popular tourism spots and heavily dependent on seasonality and foreign customers. We imagine businesses that might not be able to survive 3 months of inactivity or a season serving only local customers.
But big institutions suffer too. Museums, for instance, have experienced massive losses. Based on UNESCO reports, 90% of the World’s total 95,000 museums have closed because of the Covid-19 crisis, meaning the cancellation of most scheduled activities, and subsequently massive efforts to keep Museum collections ‘alive’ by offering Digital Exhibits – some of which can actually be very interesting -, in addition to a rapid decrease in turnover experienced by Museum Stores, which gain most of their sales through visitors.
In the US alone, Museum store sales add up a total $15 billion, employing over 109,000 people, consequently requiring an ultra extensive behind-the-scenes network of manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers that are directly tied to their activity. Mostly Museum-owned, but sporadically offered in concession to private external companies – as many museums do for many other services such as security, ticket office, etc. -, Museum stores manage very large amounts of merchandise, objects, and brands.
With the decrease in Museum visits and the not-so-promising recovery forecasts – a survey done in Denmark in mid-June reflected that more than 65% of people would not attend Museum exhibits anytime soon -, these Gift stores are left in the grey. Until Museums reopen, Gift stores must find news ways to connect with customers in a digital setting, moving their stores online just as Museums have moved their collections to the digital world.
The only solution for most is to remain patient, working on e-commerce and managing finances as best as possible until the day that we can all return to enjoying and celebrating our cultural institutions.
From the Museum’s side, it means really focusing on their online offer and creating visit & product promotions; from a visitor’s side, it means giving online exhibits a chance and attending any small events Museums may held.
To see our products featured in Museum stores across the world be sure to check out our website: https://www.beamalevich.com/ and follow our blog for updates on important exhibitions, anniversaries, and movements in the art world!
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