Guernsey Press

Herm bracing itself for busiest season on record

HERM’S management is anticipating that the island will have its busiest year ever.

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After a bumper 2020 when Covid-related travel restrictions meant Guernsey people looked closer to home for a break, Herm is expecting 2021 to be its best season on record. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29313791)

Bookings to stay in the island are way up and April has already broken that month’s previous record.

In August, the self-catering cottages are 97% booked out, with only a few odd days of availability.

Craig Senior, the chief executive officer for Herm Island, was delighted with the number of reservations.

‘We’re expecting a very, very busy season this year. Our bookings are way above what we did last year, which was also a very busy year, so we’re in a good place.

‘I think a lot of people in the Bailiwick have fallen back in love with Sark, Alderney and Herm, which is great.

‘All in all we’re very, very grateful and very humble, and we consider ourselves fortunate that we’ve had the support from the local community.

‘August in particular is going to be a bit like Bethlehem on Christmas Eve.’

The island is hoping to reopen to visitors on Friday 26 March.

Cynics who may have expected prices to go up are in for a pleasant surprise.

‘We certainly don’t want to exploit the local community and what I mean by that is up until the end of November this year we’ve not increased any prices in any of our self-catering accommodation units or the hotel.

‘We could have quite easily put the prices up by 10% because we’ve got a captive market, but we’re trying to think of it long-term wise – if we hold it and freeze it, people will respect and support us.

‘Some of the tents we’ve increased prices for, but we’ve invested tens of thousands of pounds, but the self-catering cottages and the hotel we’ve not put up prices even by a penny.

‘It’s ethically moral, it’s the right decision for us because we’re so grateful for the support.’

Mr Senior said lockdown in Herm was like a bad weather winter month.

Essential supplies like food and fuel have still been brought over and essential contractors operating heavy machinery have been allowed to work on infrastructure.

Over the winter, five cottages have been refurbished, the hotel’s ground floor has been renovated, and there have been major upgrades at the campsite, including new toilets, showers and pitches.

This week work was due to get under way on new woodland paths and walks.

Around 20 workers stayed over in Herm during the low season to tackle the renovation projects.

Recruitment is a challenge this year because when staff arrive they must self-isolate in the self-catering units.

Brexit has also added more complexity to the recruitment issue.

But that challenge aside, Mr Senior said there was a great deal of positivity.

‘We are looking forward to getting people back onto the island, it needs blood pumping through the island.’