The year ahead: Guernsey tourism

Written by: BL Global Posted: 05/01/2018

2018_Wendy PedderWendy Pedder, Marketing Manager, Trade and Media Relations, VisitGuernsey, gives her views on the year ahead for tourism on the island

As we enter 2018, what’s the general health of tourism in Guernsey?

Guernsey enjoyed a successful 2017, with leisure visitor numbers showing a positive picture in an ever-competitive market. Up to September 2017, total staying visitors, total day visitors and visitors staying in commercial accommodation were all up compared with the same period in 2016.

This is particularly encouraging as these groups generate the greatest financial return to the local Guernsey economy.

After a recent three-year decline and plateau, our business travel figures are also regaining strength as budgets for corporate travel are starting to grow again. 

Business travel is a critical part of the Guernsey tourism economy and very much part of our offering, so we’re continuing to develop our infrastructure to welcome more business travellers in 2018.

We also finished the 2017 cruise season on a high, with predictions for 2018’s growth already promising, and an increase in ships scheduled to call. 

Our continued development and infrastructure in the cruise market has continued to pay dividends. In 2017, Guernsey was voted one of the top five British Isles and Western Europe destinations in CruiseCritic’s Cruisers’ Choice Awards – decided by votes from cruisers themselves.

For 2018, there are already a record-breaking 124 ships scheduled to call at St Peter Port. This includes 12 inaugural visits and represents a potential 15,047 passengers.

Looking further ahead, 88 ships are already committed to 2019, proving that Guernsey’s popularity as a cruise destination is well established, with the cruise lines factoring in port calls to their long-term plans.
In the next 12 months, what do you think will be the biggest challenge(s)?

The leisure market is increasingly competitive and price-driven, and with Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt likely to return to the holiday market in 2018, further price drops by major tour operators are predicted.

It’s encouraging and positive that Guernsey’s tourism figures have been able to grow against this backdrop, but it also reinforces that our value proposition is key in our marketing messaging.
And where will the greatest opportunity lie?

We have a big hook with the release of the film adaptation of the bestselling novel The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which will firmly place Guernsey in the spotlight of domestic tourism for 2018.

Set for release across the UK on 20 April, the film stars Lily James (Downton Abbey) and Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones). 

It will shine a new light on the island’s history during the German occupation, as well as our unique location and landscapes. Ahead of the film release, we’re working with on-island partners and the wider trade to harness the opportunity the film brings to drive visitors to the island and increase tourism revenue off the back of it. 

We’re also looking to profit from the rise of ‘bleisure’ – where travellers mix their business trips with leisure time – to encourage business travellers to bring their family to the island and spend additional nights (and money) on the island.
Is there one thing that will dominate tourism this year? 

Uncertainty over Brexit and the associated currency fluctuations are affecting tourism in a number of ways – from the way people are booking holidays and when they’re booking, to where they choose to go. 
Anything else you’d like to say about the sector?

The aforementioned currency fluctuations, as well as greater talk on perceived ‘safe destinations’, have led to a rise in the staycation – from which Guernsey is already benefiting. 

Our other key messages for 2018 will therefore focus on Guernsey’s walking, heritage and fantastic artisan food product, its short travel times from the UK, and our unique island-hopping offering. 

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