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OPINION: "A part time Tourism Management Board... just won’t cut it"


Monday 15 May 2023

OPINION: "A part time Tourism Management Board... just won’t cut it"

Monday 15 May 2023

The Guernsey Aviation Action Group have come out swinging against the States' new approach to tourism, arguing that with the island facing difficult public funding questions more should be done to bolster the tourist offering to grow the economy.

"Basic problem. Guernsey has become a prosperous island over the last 50 years. Mainly due to the continuing growth of our finance industry. Every year we’ve earned more and spent more and improved our standard of living. We’ve acted as though this will continue for ever.


  • Nearly all our eggs are in one basket. 
  • Finance industry income is not keeping pace with inflation. 

  • Our island real income has stopped rising and is now slightly falling every year. 

  • A falling income means a falling quality of life. 

  • Our young people continuing to leave our island because they cannot afford to live here and struggle to afford to get on and off the island. 

  • Fewer and fewer working age people having to provide taxes to support more and more older people. 

  • Tax rises looming such as GST. 

  • Talk of Old Age Pensions being restricted. 

 What to do? 

  • Improve our island income? 


  • Spend less on pensions, hospitals, schools, old peoples’ homes and social services etc. and accept a lower quality of life? 

Does anyone doubt the right choice is to try and improve our Island income? But how? 

cruise ship tourism travel 

  • We probably need to accept that financial Services income has peaked and will not keep pace with inflation and a relentless increase in community services costs. 

  • Income can be helped with a rapid increase in population but this will mean huge social implications. Meaning difficult decisions. 

  • We must though look after our 'open market friends' and make certain that there is a fair balance between benefit and tax to encourage them to stay with us.  

  • Sun, sea and beaches surrounding a small group of beautiful islands, with a fascinating history, are our only natural resource.  

  • Collectively requiring a tourism & hospitality economy to capitalise on these assets. 


Grow our Tourism & Hospitality Economy

  • Government and the tourism industry need to complement each other by working together in planning, infrastructure and a whole range of operational matters. 

  • To show commitment there needs to be a Minister heading a States of Guernsey Committee just for our tourism & hospitality economy. 

  • The Beecham Report needs to be revisited and implemented as soon as possible. 

  • There is a 'chicken and an egg problem'. Current tourism and hotel investors say they are prepared to invest further in the Bailiwick but are reluctant to do so unless they know visitors can get to Guernsey in larger numbers as they used to. 

  • The cost of airfares to Guernsey from Gatwick and Manchester are more than double the cost of airfares to Jersey from Gatwick and Manchester. Unless costs of travel to Guernsey are reduced to competitive norms many investors are reluctant to invest further. 

  • Frontier Economics and ASM two specialist firms, in country wide travel economics, have both advised the States of Guernsey, that extending the Guernsey runway will be worth £100s of millions over time to the Guernsey Economy and not just in tourism. 

  • And that is before they knew of the dramatic price reduction, because of a new safety system called EMAS installed within the current airport boundary, which will reduce the cost by circa 83% from £88 million to approx. £15 million.  

  • This will provide a usable runway length similar to that currently in Jersey (According to the Committee for Economic Development) allowing industry standard jets to service Guernsey offering much lower airfares through economies of scale but still protecting a restructured and essential Aurigny. 

  • The Tourist Industry insists that the runway extension has the potential to unlock millions of pounds worth of investment in our Tourist Economy. 

  • Investing in better Island facilities will also help Condor and the Cruise Liner industry market our island. 

  • A longer runway willalso enable industry standard jets to fly into the island, with lower cost of airfares, which will assist with recruitment and retention of staff across all sectors.


We’re sorry to say, States of Guernseythat a part time Tourism Management Board set up to meet two days a month just won’t cut it. 

  • The direction of travel in our economy is already beyond serious. If we don’t do something now our economic problems may become irrecoverable. 

  • At the moment Guernsey has nearly £600m of capital spending plans. All good to have if Guernsey can afford them. 

  • But only one project is independently forecast to pay for itself and help pay for all the others. 

  • Please allow the reclassification of the Guernsey runway (up to 1600m within the current boundaries) and help revive our tourist economy so we can pay for many of the other essentials we need. 

  • If anyone has any better well researched ideas for growing our Island economy now’s the time to speak up before it’s too late."

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