Toilers tourism boost ‘even if not filmed here’

TOURISM would see a significant boost if Victor Hugo’s Toilers of the Sea was filmed in the island.

Victor Hugo in Guernsey Society secretary Roy Bisson is still hopeful that a Toilers of the Sea film will be produced in Guernsey. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 30872031)
Victor Hugo in Guernsey Society secretary Roy Bisson is still hopeful that a Toilers of the Sea film will be produced in Guernsey. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 30872031)

Tour guides, who incorporate visits to the writer’s Hauteville home, have said it would provide great exposure for Guernsey.

But Economic Development has so far not offered funding for the film, which the producers wanted to film locally, including at Castle Cornet, and is not expected to.

Victor Hugo in Guernsey Society secretary Roy Bisson said he was pleased States members had been supportive of the project in this week’s meeting.

‘It seemed to us there is support to film it in Guernsey. We believe it should be made wherever but we would prefer it to be filmed in the island,’ he said.

‘In this case, Toilers of the Sea is very much a recommendation of Guernsey.’

The story is set in Guernsey, following young fisherman Gilliatt and his attempts to retrieve the engine from a shipwreck in a bid to win the hand in marriage of the ship owner’s niece.

Silver accredited guide Amanda Johns said there was still a good number of people enquiring about tours relating to the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society film, which was released in 2018.

‘I definitely think there would be a boost to tourism. The Victor Hugo house have their own tour guides so it would mean more tourism for them too,’ said Miss Johns.

‘Any exposure for the island is good for tourism – it would be more beneficial for Guernsey if it was filmed here.’

Gold accredited guide Elizabeth Gardener–Wheeler said people were generally unaware that the Potato Peel Pie was not made in the island, but there was still a significant uptake in people coming to the island and taking interest in the tours.

‘People do not know it wasn’t filmed in Guernsey and it doesn’t spoil it. Toilers will still highlight the fact that Victor lived here,’ she said.

Producers David Shanks and Joy Mellins have so far obtained 60% of their budget of £15m. They are due to meet Economic Development again soon.

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