MUSEUMS AND ECONOMIC GAIN FOR THE COMMUNITY
Text topic: Culture and Democracy - 50 Years of the Review Kultura
Text author: Владимир Кривошејев и Александра Терзић
The National Museum of Valjevo is located in a municipality inhabited by about 59,000 people. Taking into account that at least one of its four thematic exhibitions has been visited by about 35,000 visitors, in groups or individually, and that accordingly, it has had about 100,000 visits annually, this museum is among the most successful museums in Serbia. The main focus of this study is based on the question: Do museum visitors generate economic gain for the wider local community? In order to answer this question, in 2013 and 2017 a research was conducted in order to analyse, in time series, the structure of visitors, sum of income, and the distribution of economic resources in the local community. The survey was conducted among representatives of visitor groups. Additionally, managers of accommodation facilities which provide services for visitors were interviewed. The research showed that the largest number of museum visitors were pupils (children) from various towns in Serbia, during their school excursions (over 74.5% in 2017). For most of them, visiting the museum was primal motivation and for 80% of them the only reason for visiting Valjevo municipality. In 2017, these visitors brought a total income to the museum of over nine million Serbian dinars, which allowed for the employment of additional workers (four permanent and several seasonal workers, in addition to the nineteen permanent staff financed from the state budget). On the other hand, some of the museum visitors spent additional 13 million dinars (based on over 4,000 half-board hotel services and about 6,000 additional meals organized in Valjevo). This supports the fact that the total visitor spending in the town (accounting museum income, hotel and restaurant services, with additional spending) has overcome the amount of public investments in the museum, allocated from the local administration. However, the research also indicated the problem of extreme participation of excursion pupils (elementary school children) with 75% share, compared to other visitor profiles (locals, students and adult groups). This can become serious economic threat, based on the fact that the excursion market in Serbia (tourism related) is rather turbulent.