Tourism offering ‘stale, shabby and out of date’
GUERNSEY has no stand-out tourism offering, and what it has is ‘stale, shabby and out of date,’ according to a report into the industry by PwC.
The Tourism Product and Customer Experience Strategic Review was completed in November 2017 and the full report has still yet to be made public, but a summarised version of its findings was made available earlier this week.
In it PwC said it interviewed 28 stakeholders in the tourism sector, visited some 20 attractions, and between 15 and 20 hotels and self-catering establishments.
It also analysed internal data provided by Economic Development, gathered ‘external insights and benchmarks’ and interviewed selected external and PwC market experts.
‘Tourism stakeholders acknowledge that Guernsey is facing a significant challenge, largely solvable by actions within its control,’ it said.
There was little positive in the findings of the report across the four main areas of connectivity, product offering and visitor experience, accommodation and government strategy, policy and regulation.
The high cost and low frequency of travel connections needed to be resolved or it was unlikely that tourism could grow and flourish, it said.
While the island had no stand-out offering by way of a tourist attraction, its main attributes were scenic beautiy and ‘quaintness’ plus being safe, good for walking and eating out.
The island was not making enough of its military history, which was under-exploited and under-invested.
The Bailiwick islands as a whole were under-markets, and the harbour needed redevelopment.
With regard to accommodation, there were weaknesses with the range and some poor quality due to lack of investment ‘with particular gaps in high-end boutique and mid-scale range’.
There were disincentives to invest in the ‘weak and uncertain’ market. It was suggested that restrictions on home rentals could be relaxed and that would provide flexibility and competitiveness.
Finally, the States was not best placed to manage the tourism assets they did at the time and the planning and change of use rules were restrictive.
‘Lack of strategy and ambition leading to inertia, indecision and protectiveness... Too much bureaucracy involved leading to the complexity of getting decisions made.’
In summing up the product offerings that could be improved, it highlighted art and sculpture, festivals and events, sister Bailiwick islands, culture and heritage, food and drink, military/Occupation sites and museums, ‘soft activities’ and St Peter Port Harbour.
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