“It is alarming data that we are giving,” said Ernesto Ottone, assistant director general for culture at UNESCO.
Not only have museums been closed for months, leaving them with no revenue, but once they do open, social distancing restrictions and other pandemic precautions likely will greatly reduce ticket sales.
“They don’t know how they’re going to get their revenues,” he said.
The Network of European Museum Organizations said large institutions in tourist hot spots like Paris, Amsterdam and Vienna have suffered income losses of up to 80%, amounting to hundr of thousands of dollars a week.
Places like the Stedelijk and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Kunsthistorisches in Vienna are losing the equivalent of $2.75 million a month.
“It’s the first time in our history, and it will be very difficult to come out from this crisis for those institutions.”
In Berlin, four museums and one special exhibit that reopened had 10,000 visitors the first week -— about 43% of last year’s level for the same week. Visitors need to buy tickets for a particular time slot, which limits the attendance.
“It’s [going to] be a very, very difficult year,” said Pierre Coulon, operation director for public affairs of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences Museum. “And we don’t know exactly how long it will last and when we will recuperate a normal income.