Sports and cultural events to extend Guernsey's tourism season

A new tourism strategy document is upbeat, but warns against any further drop in hotel beds, says cruise liner visits will decline and wants air and sea links to be available and affordable for locals and visitors.

The Tourism Management Board's 'Framework for the Visitor Economy' outlines the opportunities, threats and the financial and cultural importance of tourism.

It talks of the island's charm and attraction to repeat visitors and sets out goals including collecting better data and encouraging States investment:

'We strongly believe in the importance of the industry for Guernsey’s growth and implore the current Committee for Economic Development and future Committees to lobby to safeguard and increase funding and avoid any further reduction in budget.'

Tourism Management Board chair Hannah Beacom says Guernsey must extend its main tourist season into a year round offering.

She says the framework identifies sports, culture and the arts as ways to do this:

"Historically, people may have come to support a sporting event, and they may have come for the day.

We are hoping with very targeted marketing to persuade them to stay for two, three or four days."

Tourism Management Board chair Hannah Beacom

Ms Beacom adds that many visitors book late, come in the summer and are typically short stay tourists.

The document wants planned, longer stays across the year and to encourage those in their 30s to visit.

"People say that Guernsey is not a family resort - that it doesn't compare to the beaches in Spain. Well, not it doesn't, it's Guernsey, and we need to hang onto what makes it so special and sell Guernsey to people who want that for their holiday experience.

We do see ourselves as a safe multi-generational destination."

The document says the tourist bed stock has been reducing and now stands at 5,399 in the summer months. It warns it mustn't decline further.

It also wants improved and affordable air and sea links for both visitors and locals.

It warns that cruise liner visits will drop and two large lines, MSC and Princess have left Guernsey out of their 2024 itinerary due to issues getting passengers ashore. Brexit has played its part and anchoring offshore is no longer a duty free sales opportunity.

Ambassadors, like the volunteers at Festung Guernsey, are doing a lot to enhance the visitor experience by preserving and interpreting a part of its heritage. And the vision is to encourage sustainable tourism and events and get more local produce available to serve to visitors.

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