Critical points of ED’s strategy include seafront, travel links
DEVELOPING the seafront and strengthening air and sea links are among the critical points of the Economic Development Strategy.
In its policy letter, the committee sets outs its intentions to enable the States to diversify and grow the economy, secure long-term prosperity, reaffirm that Guernsey is open for business, more actively monitor and report on the economy and act on those insights.
‘In July 2018, the States agreed the committee’s policy letter on air transport licensing and the tendering of the public service obligations for lifeline links is now under way,’ said an Economic Development spokesman.
‘The committee is continuing to actively explore commercial opportunities for route development.
‘In addition, the committee is continuing to work with Condor to ensure the best possible service schedule for islanders for 2019 and has piloted additional inter-island services through 2018 working with the States of Jersey.
‘The president of the committee gave an update on this work to the States in a statement on 26 September.
‘The Policy & Resources Committee has commissioned an external strategic review of air and sea links infrastructure and the committee understands that this will result in a policy letter to the States during Q4 2018.
‘The committee will be seeking to bring a policy letter on its air route policy to the same meeting in order to provide the necessary context for the policy letter relating to the review.’
In terms of the seafront enhancement, the spokesman said: ‘This will be delivered by the committee as part of the overall approach being co-ordinated by the Policy & Resources Committee, which has the potential to support multiple economic sectors and infrastructure requirements identified as part of the objective of strengthening sea links.’
The committee’s view is that all of the actions are viable, deliverable and of benefit to Guernsey’s economy.
Other topics in the strategy which are categorised as lower priority include developing a plan for investing in Guernsey’s tourism product, attracting high net worth individuals through the open market and developing plans for an international university presence in Guernsey.
With regard to the university, the strategy states a cross-committee working party has been established and work is continuing to identify a partner to establish a clear Guernsey offer and to set out in detail the investment required and economic benefits that could be delivered.
A policy letter on the subject will be submitted to the States during the third quarter of 2019.
David Oxburgh, chairman of the Guernsey International Business Association, has welcomed the strategy.
‘In particular, we are pleased that Giba’s three main focus areas of transport links, skills and growing and developing the finance sector are all regarded as critical,’ he said.
‘On transport links, we are pleased that there will be an update to States members on the external strategic review of air and sea links infrastructure before Christmas.
‘Hopefully coming from this will be action to develop the runway at Guernsey Airport.
‘The repositioning of the safety area may well be a medium-term improvement and potentially could be dealt with in addition to and on a quicker time frame than any longer-term runway extension.
‘Given the inevitable timing of infrastructure improvements, Giba continues to press for short-term action on air links including the waiving, or significant reduction, of landing charges, which are amongst the highest at airports in the British Isles.
‘Giba, therefore, welcomes ED’s plan to bring an air routes policy letter to the same States meeting which will consider the infrastructure review.
‘We very much hope that this will allow the flexibility for existing as well as new routes to be supported, whether through a reduction in landing charges or other means.’