Calls for extra help for tourism and hospitality
THE PLIGHT facing Guernsey’s tourism and hospitality sectors was highlighted in the States, with some deputies calling for extra financial assistance to help those businesses.
The president of Economic Development, Deputy Charles Parkinson, said there was a good case for enhanced support.
‘I agree that the business support measures which have been implemented so far tend towards the less generous on the scale of possible initiatives, and that tourism and indeed the retail sector are struggling badly.
‘So I would be supportive of continued and improved support measures for those sectors until we can get them back on their feet.'
A recovery plan specifically for tourism is being drawn up, although Deputy Parkinson revealed that only three staff members are still working at Visit Guernsey.
The rest of the team has been seconded to help process the island’s business support applications.
Deputy Parkinson was responding to questions led by Deputy John Gollop, who said that immediate help was needed.
‘Given our lockdown and strict entry to ports criteria, what special recovery plans is the committee pursuing with Policy & Resources for this sector?
Visitors usually give a direct injection of £145m. per year into the local economy, and the industry sustains a level of air and sea connectivity for the island.
Deputy Parkinson said this was valued and recognised, and the recovery plan was being drawn up as fast as possible.
It will include ‘staycations’, and for next year promoting the Bailiwick as a safe haven.
‘A tourism recovery task force has been created comprising members of Chamber, industry sectors and our sister Bailiwick islands.
‘The recovery plan will include proposals for what is needed to help stimulate initial recovery and then sustained growth, covering marketing and promotion, product development, and sea and air connectivity.’
Deputy Victoria Oliver called the flat-rate £3,000 business support grant ‘grossly unfair’ because a one-man band receives the same amount as a hotel with considerable running costs.
Deputy Neil Inder wanted to know how social distancing and other regulations would impact the sector.
‘Does any work conducted by Economic Development along with Visit Guernsey on things like staycations and/or Bailiwick bubbles rely largely on the committee for Health & Social Care making changes to its regulations in the areas of social distancing, accommodation regulations, inter-island travel, and making changes to their fairly restrictive phasing?’
Deputy Parkinson said the valid regulations set out by HSC would need to be followed.