Plan for business travel ‘step in right direction’
CREATING business travel corridors will show that Guernsey is open for business, industry leaders have said.
Exact details are still to be confirmed, but it is proposed that people who have to conduct business in person in the Bailiwick will be able to travel to Guernsey and leave the same day, while adhering to strict rules.
Guernsey International Business Association chairman Tony Mancini said it was only last year that new economic substance requirements came in, which aimed to make it clearer where business was being carried out.
He said while the rules themselves had not made a big difference to how Guernsey did business, lockdown had caused a big impact.
When businesses are first established or wound down, then the majority of a board needs to meet in person. Lockdown rules have made this very hard, especially when board members might not live in Guernsey.
Mr Mancini said while there was some leniency during this period, especially while other parts of the world were also in lockdown, the association did need to look forward as to how to do business now and going forward.
‘There is not a pressing demand for this at the moment,’ he said.
‘Jersey has opened its borders and no one is rushing there for business. But we think over the next few months there will be more.’
He said Guernsey’s response to the virus had been very good and it had given people a positive image of the island. ‘Now we need to show we can accommodate business in a healthy and safe way,’ he said.
‘The general consensus is that there is not a huge demand, but this will look good and get the message out there that we are open for business.’
Guernsey Institute of Directors chairman John Clacy said it was important to balance the island’s economy and the health of islanders.
‘Whilst we await further details of how the business tunnels will operate, the ability for business travellers to come to the island for meetings – where their presence is required for legal, regulatory and practical reasons – is good news for many companies,’ he said.
‘The arrangement should enable directors to deal with any existing business which needs to be transacted on the island, and in situations where the new transaction must take place in Guernsey, for example, when establishing trusts.
‘However, the concept appears to be a one-way arrangement, and the need for local directors to travel to the UK for similar reasons has not yet been addressed.’
He added that proposals also did not allow for trips for business development or other business meetings.
‘Whilst the need for these is currently limited by many UK and European businesses working from home, as this changes, the need for business development travel will become more pressing,’ he said.
‘The global nature of Guernsey’s businesses often requires people to travel to the UK – and elsewhere – to market, network and generally build pipelines of new business.
‘If Guernsey’s professionals cannot leave the island without the quarantine on return for meetings, presentations or pitches, we will be at a disadvantage when competing against other jurisdictions whose borders are open.’
He said the business tunnels were a step in the right direction, but more details were needed about the future and phase six of the easing of lockdown restrictions when the island would rejoin the global community.