Collapse in sea arrivals ‘extremely concerning’

A LEADING tourism industry figure has described as ‘incredibly concerning’ the collapse in the number of people arriving by sea.

liberation_900

Arrivals are down by 22% compared to last year, and by a third on the Jersey and Poole routes.

St Malo numbers are also down by more than a fifth.

Chamber of Commerce hospitality and tourism sub-group head Luke Wheadon slammed Condor for its failures over the last year.

Soothing words from the beleaguered ferry operator were fine, he said, but it had to deliver action to turn the situation around.

‘These figures are incredibly concerning, this is much worse than we expected,’ he said.

‘If you look at air passenger arrivals, they are flat, so it is not that the people are flying here instead, it is that they are not coming here at all.

‘There is a lack of confidence in Condor and its boat, and a damaged reputation from last year.

‘Condor has to put a lot of work in, but it needs to be a concerted effort to U-turn the statistics.

‘All of Guernsey has run out of patience, and that is more than government or my sub-group can do to put pressure on them.’

Comments for: "Collapse in sea arrivals ‘extremely concerning’"

markB

so what the point of a longer runway?

GuernToTheDogs

Exactly. It would be a huge financial gamble with finger in the air statistics to back it up. They lost their chance to do it anyway, so that boat has sailed!

GPZ550

Is it just Condor or is it the lack of accommodation at the right price in season? As a single traveller with a pet there is little point looking for an affordable holiday in Guernsey, it's way to expensive now. I've visited many times in the past both by air and sea with no issue but last time it had to be out of season to be affordable, with a dog it's very hard getting hotel accommodation that is reasonable without being charged single room and extra for the dog. When I last used Condor they were excellent. I can't comment on the new one but look at the big picture if you want visitors who want to stay not just visit for a day off a cruise ship. I love Guernsey but can't see when I will ever get the chance to visit again.

Common sense

Condor must bite the bullit and replace the Liberation, until this happens there is no chance of the organisation regaining the public trust and patronage. It no longer matters if the reliability of the vessel improves dramatically the damage has already been done.

The public's perception of the company can only be changed by Condor admitting the purchase of the vessel was an error of judgement and address the situation. If the number of customers continues to reduce the financial financial effect on local companies dependant on visitors for part of all of their income with be irreversible.

The states need to step in sooner rather than later, I rather suspect they hoped that the fair summer weather would reduce the number of cancellations and reduce their need to intervene. The states need to take a robust attitude and inform Condor to obtain an agreement, they are required to address the needs of the islanders as part of any future plans including providing morning sailing times that allow allow those travelling from the island to arrive at their destination at a reasonable time of day.

Condor have a new CEO who could lead these changes, as he is not associated with the purchase of the Liberation he could use his appointment as a watershed and use his position to make the large changes to the way the organisation operates and undertaken properly rebuild the organisations reputation. It will cost Condor money but the short term loss can be outweight by long term gain.

Any deputy who underestimates the public feelings on this subject only need to refer to the last election. Demand high standards from Luxon and challenge him to deliver.

donald

Perhaps people are becoming aware of what filthy people we are dumping our sewage in the sea that they are supposed to be swimming in?

Devil's Advocate

Our sewerage doesn't pollute our bathing beaches.

Esprit

Sewerage certainly wouldn't be causing any pollution, although sewage might. ;*)

PLP

Sadly you didn't need a crystal ball to see this headline coming. A toxic combination of the PR disaster that is the Condor Liberation and the high prices in comparison to travel elsewhere meant there wasn't going to be any other outcome.

Beanjar

‘extremely concerning’ - but also entirely expected. Posters here were commenting on the extreme unsuitability of the (so called) Liberation even before she entered what is laughingly known as 'service'. Here is next year's headline unless they replace this albatross now:- "Further collapse in sea arrivals kills tourism industry"

paulegsy

I have been reading all the Guernsey news for years, during the past Year in particular, travel to the Island has been highlighted heavily not only in the UK but on the continent.

The publicity unfortunately has not been favourable, infact it has been highly damaging and in some instances will take years to repair if indeed it can be repaired. Reputation is one thing, but giving service and value for money is something that Guernsey seems unable to do.

I myself have just tried to book a few days to visit family and was stunned to find such extravagant pricing, you have to have regulation otherwise you will have no tourist industry left.

In France a 4 star hotel will all amenities can be booked for 70 to 80 euros yes euros not pounds per room per night, NOT per person, the same goes in ,most other european countries.

The Islands are not Monaco, St Torpez or The Bahamas, your weather is extremely changeable and the temperatures can be at best mildly moderate, apart from eating out (which I agree you have some excellent restaurants), a few museums and yes the wonderful coastline, that is it!! There is nothing else you can offer the traveller.

Building a longer runway would make life easier for the airlines to operate to Guernsey, but then you need the infrastructure such as hotel beds to accommodate these people, they will then need to be looked after and wowed in order that they tell their friends and pass the message on.

You can start by fixing the broken travel arrangements to the Island, then build some budget hotels at the same time as lengthening the runway, yes that will all cost money, but whats the alternative ?

To do nothing and wait and see has already cost you your reputation and a huge slice of your travel business.

Take your heads out of the sand or suffer the consequences!

Alvin

Extend the runway to make it easier for airlines to fly in ?? How will it make it easier for the likes of Aurigny, Flybe/Blue Islands, Air Berlin etc etc ??

Which other airlines will come in if the runway is lengthened ?? Which ones ?? Name one that will for sure !!

Paul

This needs a further breakdown on figures. For example what are the figures for islanders ? I know I would have used the UK bound fast ferry at least x4 but will not why liberation is on the route. The new pricing policy has certainly made certain dates very expensive and the timings on the St Malo route makes day trips impossible and weekends not worth it. All of these issues Condor can change if they have a mind too unfortunately the. states through Kevin Stewart allowed Condor too much time/ leeway when the problems were obvious last year.

thames

Even if you are lucky enough to make it to Guernsey onboard the Liberation, one of the problems is the tired, dated, characterless hotels stuck in the 1980's yet charging extortionate prices. On the one hand, these hotels simply do not appeal to the sophisticated traveller in the luxury market and on the other hand, are way too expensive for the package tour market who can get better value for money elsewhere.

Wil

Are Guerns travelling less also?

Correct me if I am wrong but I believe that population numbers have gone down over the last few years. If true then that could be a factor - less Guerns going on family holidays.

Election Issues

It's time for the new Condor CEO to get real.

Paul Luxon has said that the problems with Liberation were not the only factor for the sea arrivals numbers to be down. He mentioned the disruption on the Poole route as well as other factors such as the poor weather this year, strikes in France as well as the early Easter holiday.

He said that Condor is working closely with Visit Gsy and Visit Jsy to promote the islands as a holiday destination and Condor are increasing their digital marketing capabilities in order to reach an even wider audience and attract more visitors to the islands.

What is the point of spending huge amounts of money on advertising the islands if people are not prepared to risk booking and travelling on Liberation as the reliability is really appalling. Why would local people and visitors even want to travel on that ship when the reliability is so poor and the costs so high? These visitors and islanders are not even sure if they will travel or return on time. It's not good enough to say the least.

Until Condor get some gumption and realise that its all about Liberation then things will never, ever improve. Condor need to sell Liberation asap to a company on an inland waterway which is well away away from the waves and wind of the English Channel.....and Condor need to act fast as its all been a total disaster which will only get worse.

Atlast

Let's face reality - who wants to come to Guernsey? There's worse to come!! Tighten your belts.

carolfromtheblock

Agree , cold weather ,cold water , colder hospitality

Chris

Nothing from Simon V. He wants a longer runway, Condor fixed, but silent on the shocking costs of staying in mediocre Guernsey hotels.

Why do they persist in charging per person? The rest of the world changed to per room donkeys years ago.

Alvin

Simon is probably too busy racking his brains trying to find a SENSIBLE reason why the runway needs to be extended.

Hence the silence.

Island Wide Voting

I suppose there's extra cash to be made if someone books in as a threesome

Beanjar

I don't think the beds are up to it!

REGINALD

For 'goodness sake' just what do you expect with a vessel like 'Condor Liberation' on the sea route. ? Surely nothing but 'a collapse' and, a further collapse to come. ! Why, ? well, the bad news gets around. Possible sea travel passengers 'talk' then Trip Advisor. ! Too much

booze in the brain, when the decision was made to buy a completely unsuitable vessel.

Charlie G

G P 21st Sept 2015...

"Police called in Poole as Condor anger overflows"

G P 15th June 2011...

Condor Boss ; "I know we have damaged the Island"..

MD Simon Edsall addmittance its

recent service has been damaging to the Island.

Vraic-eater

If Condor wish to continue to operate fast ferries they need to fix the following problems

1) They need two smaller ships, one large one is difficult to dock, takes too long to load, overloads the harbour facilities and provides no back-up when things go wrong.

2)The ships should be twin-hulled with a drive and rudder in each for manoeuvering in small harbours in difficult conditions. A monohull with outriggers will never achieve this as everything is in the narrow central hull.

3)At least one ship should overnight in the islands so that everyone's holiday does not start and finish in the middle of the night. This applies to us and to visitors.

4)The UK port should be Weymouth, there is no point having fast ferries and still taking a long time to get there and be, for many, in the wrong place.

Until they fix these problems, Paul Luxon's advertising will achieve very little. As for cost, I do not think this service will ever be cheap, the problems are the same as for the airlines, it is a niche route and we have to live with that.

Donkey Boiler

Vraic Eater

I agree that the service should overnight in Jersey as the old Sealink service did years ago. The problem is that fast ferries have no live aboard crew accommodation. This means they would need crew based in Jersey. But the most important fact is fhat fast ferries are not suitable for a year round service in the Western Channel, especially not this one! The so called back up only carries 300 pax, is heavily committed to freight, has insufficient cabin accommodation for night crossings, and runs from a different port. This just exacerbates problems when the Liberation can't sail. CEO Luxon claims some of the down turn is due to weather, and that's not Condor's fault, however it IS their fault that they provide a vessel that can't cope with normal weather conditions in the Western Channel. What happened to the 5 metre wave height limit we were promised, the virtual end to sick bag use and a 90% decrease in weather delays and cancellations? We know none of this is going to happen, but Condor just pretend they never made these claims, that were swallowed by the likes of DJ Kev.

Donkey Boiler

Luxon states that weather has been a factor in the fall in sea arrivals, so that's not Condor's fault. BUT, it is Condor's fault that they provide a vessel that cannot cope with what is normal weather in the Western Channel. Still no word on when Liberation will be reassessed for the Holy Grail 5 metre wave height limit that they promised when they introduced this tub. We all know it will never happen, just like the virtual end to sea sickness bags and the 90% reduction in weather cancellations and delays, all of which was swallowed hook, line and sinker by the likes of DJ Kev. Condor have to admit that fast ferries, and in particular this one, are NOT SUITABLE for a year round service in this part of the world. Add to this that their phoney 'back up' vessel carries only 300 passengers, has far too little accommodation for night crossings, runs from a different port, and is heavily committed to freight, then any problems with Liberation just get worse.

YG1234

Well I have used Condor a lot over the last month for work in the UK and it is a shambles, not one crossing was close to three hours and one was over five to Poole.

The ship is falling to bits, lift broken, duty free door stuck, aircon faulty the list goes on.

Can you imagine what it would have been like if they had operated two sailings a day.

I am not bashing Condor just quoting real facts.

#gashtag

Anyone with Condor bookings in the summer holidays checked the timetable recently?

I just had a random look and it seems that times have been shifted back a little. Predictably, no notice of the change via e-mail or whatever from Condor.

Basic things being done for customers such as sailing time updates is such a quick win for Condor, yet they cannot even do this.

#useless

#thanksfornothing

Bert68

We have been visiting Guernsey for many years and have been following with interest the Condor issues over the last year or so. We have just returned from a two week holiday to the Islands and have to agree with a lot of the comments on here. Although we were lucky that our Liberation experience went ok, the return journey was very cramped even after paying to upgrade our seats, having to eat in front of strangers, as our seats were rear facing (it was like sitting on stage) was not pleasant, the gentleman opposite was fighting with me for leg space under the table!

Whist on the island we wanted to take in Jersey and Alderney and was disappointed there were no day trips available to Jersey by Condor so we decided to overnight in Jersey and return the next day. As we are motorsport enthusiasts we wanted to visit the Nigel Mansell museum, unfortunately the Liberation went technical again at that time so we never made it to Jersey. Alderney was a non starter due to infrequent sea travel to the island (not Condors fault) but we did do Sark and Herm twice despite the Trident issues. Having said all this, costs are becoming very restrictive for us now, for two weeks self catering and travel was over £2k and with spending money the holiday has cost £4k (where could we go in Europe with that sort of money). Also disappointing to find certain attractions/shops closed down etc. As for Condor we have said before on here, if you get rid of half your boats from your UK route you don't need to be a rocket scientist to understand you are only going to get half your visitors. We would strongly urge Condor, encouraged by the States to provide another ship for the UK route to run out of Weymouth to give the customer a choice of Ports and backup should one fail. From our experience the Vitesse and the Express worked well for 15 years for people using them. Also we think Poole Port is a disgrace. The infrastructure for ferry travel from there seems to be very low standard and we were shocked to see foot passengers having to be towed on a tractor shuttle to the ship, perhaps horse and cart from Sark would have been more appropriate. At least Weymouth is a designated holiday resort so catching the ferry was always part of the holiday unlike Poole where you have to drive through an old run down industrial estate. We also agree with the other comment about Condor trying to capture a wider customer base, all very well but they have to concentrate on how they are going to get them to the islands first.

Devil's Advocate

I suspect Poole is used because it sits at the end of the M3/M27, thus easy to get to for a larger number of potential customers. There may be other financial or operational incentives too.

Donkey Boiler

The Liberation is too big for Weymouth.

blomen

I used to go to Guernsey several times a year in the twin fast ferry days. You could get a day trip for £30 and if you were staying longer it wasn't much more.

With the different timetables I could also manage day trips to Jersey and Sark from the UK on certain occasions.

With the Liberation that's all gone. Throw in the ever increasing unreliability and it's now a very unappetising prospect.

Island Wide Voting

Can someone please ensure that President Ferbrache is made aware of the comments from Bert68 and blomen

Lord Nelson

I Have been visiting Guernsey on a regular basis for many years now but after last years horror of trying to get to your wonderful island it may be awhile before I decide to return.

The reliability and customer service was horrendous.

Bring back smaller vessels on a better timetable back to Weymouth, then I might consider returning to your island.

donald

Dunno if its true or not,but the further West you go the more the weather becomes unreliable?On the beach years ago one said to ones friends - "see you tomorrow" - and one did.The same can't be said of today!Or is it me?

Devil's Advocate

I think the weather these days is more unreliable too, especially the wind - I'm sure it's windier these days than it used to be.

Le Goubert

Donald I remember those halcyon summer days as well.

Wasn't the beer cheaper back then, and weren't the girls prettier and didn't they wear shorter skirts as well?

Island Wide Voting

..... especially those Grammar School girls.Pretty AND very clever to boot.Long may it last

Kittycat

Concerning, yes, but not at all surprising. For many families the Condor was the only reasonable way to get here, you could easily bring your car and even the family dog. With the ferries so diabolically unreliable now everyone avoids them. Do you expect people to go out of their way to fly over instead? It's arguably more expensive, especially if you're then forced to hire a car etc. and of course there are fewer and fewer hotels with ever increasing prices. Guernsey is wonderful but most people would just go elsewhere instead rather than deal with the extra hassle. They don't care if our tourist numbers go down.

Whoever is responsible for letting Condor get into this state needs to be brought to account. The whole island suffers.

REGINALD

Tourism, 'in the good old days' used to make a big financial contribution, to Guernsey revenue, and so many 'visitors' as they were called, used sea transport, which was both reliable and reasonable in price. ?. A choice of two services, either Southampton, (time 6 and a half hours trip) or Weymouth, (4 hours trip) Now, over priced and unreliable.. Result, inevitable, reflected in a big decline in the numbers, and, of course, Guernsey tourism revenue.

donald

Yes,the beer was cheaper in those days,and yes,the girls were prettier and much more natural.I love Guernsey,but "it aint what it used to be"!And the Market - thats something I'll never forget!

dc

The blame can be placed squarely with Condor. The simple solution is political pressure needs to be placed by both Guernsey & Jersey to get Condor to drop prices sufficiently to boost visitor numbers.

It's never going to happen as we are not allowed to 'Stick The Boot In' but I live in hope!

kev

Ha been in decline for many a year.

Transport links are the cheery on the cake

Muzeek

Surprise, surprise, no one in charge seems to be bothered, and the islands are gradually sinking into the mire.

InteresTed

I know something that be seriously successful for tourism-- a multi island ticket/holiday. If something like Greek island travel, not too expensive and sensible coordination, were available then I think the overall market could be huge. Do the channel Islands would be on everyone's 'to do' list. Any chance of something so radical?