The Committee for Economic Development is finalising a new strategy for tourism which it hopes to take to the States soon for debate and approval.
In a memo to other States’ members, Deputy Neil Inder, the President of the Committee, said the strategy would contain “a front-end prospectus that any investor or developer – be that new hotelier, event organiser, tour guide or attraction owner – will pick up and be able to say Guernsey is serious about tourism”.
“There has been a significant amount of work conducted to date and it’s looking to be in pretty good shape,” said Deputy Inder.
“Over the past few months, there has been extensive engagement with the four large hotel groups…[and] invites have been sent out to discuss propositions with the States’ Trading Supervisory Board, the Committees for the Environment & Infrastructure and Education, Sport & Culture and the Development & Planning Authority.”
Deputy Inder said his Committee’s strategy for tourism “is not a marketing strategy nor is it a marketing campaign – in policy terms, it will be a set of objectives”.
Pictured: Deputy Simon Vermeulen leads on tourism for the Committee for Economic Development and has been working closely with Committee President, Deputy Neil Inder, on a new strategy for tourism. Deputy Vermeulen is a former hotelier and Deputy Inder runs a small self-catering business.
He also told States’ members that his Committee has “a desire for government to divest itself of its direct tourism responsibility” and should know in the next 12 weeks whether that is viable.
Deputy Inder is a long-time critic of Visit Guernsey, the States’ department which promotes the Bailiwick as a tourist destination.
In 2019, he accepted a caution from the Members’ Code of Conduct Panel for the way in which he criticised civil servants at Visit Guernsey in a radio interview.
In November 2020, weeks after being elected as President of the Committee for Economic Development, he said: “When we do get through this elongated winter and can effectively reopen our visitor economy, we need to make sure that Visit Guernsey is ready and equipped to meet that challenge and opportunity. This means we also need to think differently in how we market ourselves as a tourist destination and whether this is the time to transform Visit Guernsey into a public-private partnership or some form of LBG and into the consolidated agency model.”
Deputy Inder has now told States’ members that “someone who has experience in working between government and tourism” has been commissioned to advise the Committee on the possibility of setting up a “Destination Marketing Organisation” which it is believed would replace States-run Visit Guernsey.
Pictured: When he was a member of the Committee for Economic Development, Deputy Neil Inder was a frequent critic of how the States run the marketing of the Bailiwick as a tourist destination. Now, as Committee President, he is hoping shortly to propose a new strategy for tourism and has commissioned a consultant to assess whether Visit Guernsey could be replaced or reformed.
Deputy Inder said the consultant is currently “engaging with the industry on a series of one-to-ones to ascertain what they think they can and can't do”.
“The outturn from that piece of work will be in front of the Committee within the next 12 weeks. The political desire to move something out from government is one thing, but whether Guernsey has the external competencies to do that is yet to be determined.
“I won't risk what is an exciting and important part of our economy for the sake of political expediency or to put a tick against a manifesto piece.
“Whatever we do, the Committee will need to be assured that it has a competent Tourism Authority in the wings or it's no deal.”
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