Economic Development’s new tourist management board gives industry the “genuine chance” to shape future plans, its president has said, amid signs of a serious breakdown in relations with the sector.
The committee has written to businesses working in the sector after sustained criticism of its new approach by the Guernsey Hospitality Association.
Economic Development was prepared to review its position and consider a public private partnership, but only if the industry would contribute financially, he said.
While its model was “not exactly” what was proposed either by an independent report about what to do, or what has been put forward by the GHA’s board, it met the aim of being “an independent, industry-led decision making body leading on tourism strategy,” said Deputy Neil Inder.
“This hybrid solution gives the strategic input the industry is seeking without the increase in overhead costs which would be required for a full arms-length body and which ultimately, would lead to increased costs to the taxpayer. The committee simply could not justify introducing a model which significantly increases costs to the taxpayer at a time when the community is facing many difficult financial decisions.”
Pictured: Deputy Neil Inder.
The chair of the tourism management board will be paid £15,000 plus expenses for a minimum of 24 days' work per year. They will oversee a marketing and tourism budget set at £1.86million for 2023 and an events budget set at £140,000.
Deputy Inder said the committee was disappointed that the GHA’s board would not engage with its new Tourism Management Board.
The GHA has written to all deputies, saying it was “no longer possible to have a meaningful relationship” with Economic Development or its president.
Its membership represents approximately 85% of the island’s accommodation sector and 75% of the total hospitality sector, it said in the letter.
“Whatever the TMB does manage to produce by way of strategy it will still be a strategy that has had little input from the major stakeholder of the industries view of what will be needed to ensure the visitor economy can grow and continue to make a positive and growing contribution to the island’s economy and GDP,” the letter by the GHA board said.
They want the TMB suspected, Deputy Inder to stop acting as “de facto CEO of Visit Guernsey, and a shadow board of government and industry figures to discuss the way forward.
It wants a full-time professional body with an independent, full time CEO.
The Guernsey Hospitality Association Board is Alan Sillett, Jamie Le Friec, Ian McBoyle, Karel Harris, Andy Coleman, Andrew Chantrell, Paul Scambler, Áine Sillett.
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