The Guernsey Tourism Partnership (GTP) is tentatively hopeful for the industry to bounce back this year, but warns that if remaining restrictions don’t ease by April some businesses won’t survive.
The GTP was launched last year to provide a combined voice for businesses in the tourist industry. It painted a dire picture of the tourism sector in 2021, with more than 70 of its members trading between 50% and 100% lower than pre-covid levels.
The group lobbied Policy & Resources, asking the committee to expand and extend the business support offered to the tourist sector and subsequently P&R announced the Visitor Attraction Support Scheme which will provide payroll support through to 31 March.
The Chairman of the GTP, Ant Ford Parker, said the support from government has been essential and welcome and the GTP was successful in opening up this conversation.
“The consensus is we’ve had a useful year – we’ve managed to help our members obtain some government help, which wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t fought,” he said.
“We’ve managed to rally the troops as it were, and gather a good momentum for change going into the new season.”
WATCH (latest Visit Guernsey promo): "We’ve managed to get the ear of government," said Mr Parker, who said the GTP has "forged great links with Visit Guernsey."
Mr Parker said the GTP has managed to develop a strong relation with Visit Guernsey, the arm of government responsible for promoting and developing tourism in the island.
“We feel that we’ve got a really good relationship with Visit Guernsey and we’re really pleased with the direction that they’re taking,” he said.
“They’ve engaged with us as and are quite willing to adapt their ideas to suit the industry, which to us is absolutely great news.”
Visit Guernsey has now published its end of year update, outlining the trends in 2021 and its vision for 2022, which focuses on boutique cruises and millennials with disposable income, among many other target audiences.
Pictured: The Visit Guernsey report includes facts and figures from 2021.
Despite open dialogue with P&R, Economic Development, and Visit Guernsey, Mr Parker said the industry still faces uncertainty.
“Still having restrictions now after Christmas and not knowing what restrictions are still going to be in place when the season normally starts [Easter], particularly with the cruise liners and the visitors, it’s still looking very uncertain,” he said.
“For the next three months we’ll be pushing to get some clarity on where we’re going and where we’re heading; we need some timelines on tests and paying for these LFTs, which aren’t encouraging visitors, and just what kind of situation we’re going to be in, because we want to start taking bookings now and people are still reluctant to book.”
Mr Parker warns that if the industry doesn’t get off to a good start in April, some businesses may not see out the year.
“Quite a few [businesses] have fallen by the wayside and quite a few are struggling; it’s all hinged on the season starting new and as promised in April,” he said.
“If it doesn’t restart by April and we have another difficult year, we really do not know where everyone is going to be – we’ve managed to survive this far, but it all hangs on us opening this Easter.”
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