Travel figures better than last year, but below those of 2017
TRAVEL figures for the second quarter of this year have shown a slight improvement over the same period in 2018, but are lower than the second quarter of 2017.
The Guernsey Travel Survey has released its summary of April-June this year.
The figures are based upon exit survey interviews undertaken at the airport and harbour, with a random sample of departing passengers.
While the total of departing visitors stood at 152,462 during quarter two, an increase of 3,456 (2%) compared to the same period in 2018, the same quarter in 2017 had a total of 157,550 departing visitors – some 3% higher than this year.
And when the first six months of the year are compared, this year has seen a fall of 58,545 departing visitors between January and June when compared to 2017, but a rise of 12,975 (8%) over the same period in 2018.
This year’s increase is largely attributed to a strong cruise ship season supported by increased staying visitors travelling by ferry and air from both France, Germany, North America and Australia.
The largest year-on-year increase was seen in the number of international visitors, which saw an additional 2,858 (24%) and of these there was growth from North America (USA up 44%, and Canada 126%), and Australia (126% rise), while there numbers were also up from France (15%) Germany (30%).
However, visitors from the UK fell by 18% during the quarter.
There was also a reduction in the number of passengers travelling by air, which was down 8%.
Passengers from cruises were up 21% over Q2, 2018.
When looking at staying visitors who were here for leisure trips, the largest and most valuable segment of the tourism market, the figure was stable for the first six months of the year overall, but down in the second quarter by 6%.
Between January and June 2019, staying leisure visitors, the largest and most valuable segment of the tourism market, remained stable at 52,933 and visitors staying with friends or relatives increased by 2% but the number of people staying for business purposes was down by 11%.
While overall staying visitors declined in April and May compared to a strong similar period last year, the figures rallied in June with a rise in 3% of the total number of staying visitors and 10% for leisure visitors only.
‘Positive feedback from the trade and industry indicates that this trend should continue through the main peak season,’ said the survey report.
Visitors travelling by air fell by 3% during the first six months of the year (2,632) and by sea by 5% (1,900).
But despite the fall in air travel, Economic Development committee member Deputy Joe Mooney said that the airport had seen its busiest month ever for passengers in June, and he attributed this to the introduction of the open skies legislation in 2018 and the launch of six new routes earlier this year.
‘Early feedback suggests that as awareness of these new routes increases in our visitor markets, forward booking numbers from visitors look encouraging,’ he said.
Director of marketing and tourism Mike Hopkins highlighted the rise in visitors from international destinations.
‘The German, Australian and North American markets all show double or triple-digit annual growth.
‘The strong increase from the French market last quarter followed increased marketing and PR working with trade partners in France in the lead-up to and following the re-opening of Victor Hugo’s house and this marketing was set to continue.’