Guernsey visitor numbers up 8% in first half

Posted: 07/08/2019

The total market of departing visitors stood at 152,462 visitors during the second quarter of 2019, an increase of 2% compared with the same period in 2018.

Year to date (January to June 2019) total departing visitors increased by 8% to 184,805 visitors during the six-month period – an increase of 12,975 visitors on the first half of 2018.

The increase has been largely driven by a strong cruise ship season, supported by increased staying visitors travelling by ferry and air from France, Germany, North America and Australia.

Q2 summary

• Departing visitors increased by 2% compared with the same period in 2018 (+3,456).
• International visitors saw the largest absolute year-on-year increase, with 2,858 additional visitors travelling to Guernsey between April and June 2019 (24% increase) versus the previous year, with strong growth from the French (+15%), German (+30%), North American (US +44% and Canada +126%) and Australian (+126%) markets. Conversely, visitors from the UK fell by 18%.
• Passengers travelling by cruise increased by 21% during the quarter versus Q2 2018. However, passengers travelling by both air and ferry fell by 8% respectively during the same period.
• Total staying visitors fell by 6%, staying visitors for leisure purposes fell by 3% and those staying in commercial accommodation specifically by 7%. Total day visitors and day visitors travelling for leisure purposes declined by 17% respectively, with day visitors visiting friends and relatives showing a 23% increase, albeit from a small base. Day visitors travelling for business purposes remained relatively flat, down 1% on Q2 2018.
• Following a strong Q1, the staying visitor numbers during April and May declined compared with a very strong April and May 2018. However, visitor numbers recovered during June, showing healthy growth of 3% and 10% respectively for total staying and staying leisure visitors. Positive feedback from the trade and industry indicates that this trend should continue through the main peak season.

January to June 2019

• During the first half of 2019, total departing visitors increased by 8% compared with the same period in 2018 (+12,975 visitors).
• This was driven by a strong cruise season, with 64,364 visitors departing Guernsey via a cruise ship - 11,298 additional passengers versus January to June 2018, representing a 21% increase.
• Visitors travelling by air fell by 3% during the first six months of the year (-2,632) and by sea by 5% (-1,900).
• Similar to the Q2 figures, departing visitors from France and other international countries grew strongly by 11% and 16% respectively during the first half of 2019. Visitors from Jersey increased by 12% but visitors travelling from the UK saw an 11% fall in the same period.
• Between January and June 2019, staying leisure visitors, the largest and most valuable segment of the tourism market, remained stable at 52,933 and visitors staying with friends or relatives increased by 2%. However, visitors staying for business purposes fell by 11%, contributing to an overall staying visitor decline of 2% during the period.
• Day visitors travelling by air or ferry fell by 10% versus January to June 2018. While day visitors visiting for business purposes increased by 5% and those visiting to see friends and relatives increased by 23%, these increases did not counter the fall in day visitors travelling for leisure purposes (-10%) and other/unknown purposes (-36%).

Deputy Joe Mooney, member of the Committee for Economic Development said: “I’m delighted that overall visitor numbers continue to grow. Following the introduction of Open Skies legislation in 2018, and the launch of six new air routes earlier this year, Guernsey airport saw its busiest ever month for passenger numbers in June. 

"While largely driven by increased resident travel, regional marketing activity continues to be implemented across the UK and German markets, to raise awareness of these new routes among consumers and the travel agency trade. Early feedback suggests that as awareness of these new routes increases in our visitor markets, forward booking numbers from visitors look encouraging."

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