Northern isle ‘has been full of Guernsey people’

GUERNSEY visitors have helped to save Alderney’s summer season, those in the tourist trade have said.

(Picture By Peter Frankland, 28713533)
(Picture By Peter Frankland, 28713533)

The northern isle would normally welcome thousands of visitors each year, many of whom travelling from the UK or France, with Guernsey visitors making up only a smaller proportion of tourists.

But this year’s travel restrictions have resulted in many Guernsey people choosing to take staycations within the Bailiwick.

Visit Alderney tourism officer Anne-Isabelle Boulan said they did not have figures for how the summer had gone. But it seemed to be a greater success than first feared.

‘It has felt busy,’ she said.

‘I think we are still down on numbers, as we don’t have the UK and French markets. But we have had a large number of first-time visitors. We normally have a high number of returning visitors, so it has been interesting to see more people coming for the first time. We hope they will come back.’

She said because so many people were over for the first time, the tourist office had been busy answering questions.

‘It’s been fantastic to tell them about the island and for them to meet the people of Alderney. One of the things that has kept coming up is that Alderney has been very welcoming.’

With Guernsey its target market, Visit Alderney has moved its digital and print marketing to focus on the island. Miss Boulan said that had helped encourage Guernsey people to visit.

La Ville Hotel only opened on 1 August. Front of house manager Brittany McGrath said they had planned to do a soft opening. But on the day they got the hotel key, they discovered Alderney Week was back on.

‘It’s been full throttle since then,’ she said.

‘We’ve been full for multiple nights and we are still got bookings coming in now.’

She said Guernsey people had really taken this chance to visit.

‘Alderney has been full of people from Guernsey, which is wonderful,’ she said.

‘The whole island has pulled together to offer opportunities.’

Bill Le Poullain, of Bill’s Taxis, said Guernsey visitors had been a big boost for the business.

‘The Guernsey staycation bubble has been fantastic,’ he said.

‘The people of Guernsey have supported the people of Alderney and it’s been a brilliant summer.’

He estimated that ordinarily about 80% of visitors would be from the UK, but the pandemic had encouraged Guernsey people to look a bit closer to home for their holidays and had given them a chance to see all the sights of Alderney.

He hoped Guernsey people would come back again in future.

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