Guernsey Press

First cruise ship of the year boosted Town footfall by 34% retailers

RETAILERS have claimed the visit of the island’s first cruise ship of 2023 boosted footfall by a third in the retail heart of Town.

MSC Virtuosa visiting the island last month on a ‘Guernsey Taster from Southampton’ trip. (Pictures by Sophie Rabey, 32091102/5)

The Guernsey Retail Group said that passengers from the MSC Virtuosa increased the number of pedestrians by more than 1,400.

Data collected in Le Pollet measured 5,767 pedestrians on Tuesday 25 April – the day the ship was anchored off St Peter Port – compared to 4,305 the previous Tuesday, a rise of 34%.

‘While it is no secret that the arrival of a cruise ship adds to the number of people circulating in St Peter Port, we were pleasantly surprised by these figures... which is fantastic for the island and benefits local retail,’ said Korrine Le Page, the group’s head of retail development.

She added that the data collected by the pedestrian counter, which was based at 3 Le Pollet, the premises of fashion store HS2, was consistent with retailers’ observations of a significant increase in footfall and sales.

‘We are reliant on visitors due to the seasonality of our business, so the arrival of a cruise ship means not only a huge increase in footfall in town, but this also positively impacts on our sales figures,’ said Andy Ison, who owns Guernsey Goldsmiths in the Pollet.

‘We take on extra staff on cruise ship days and did extremely well with the passengers from the MSC Virtuosa.

‘Looking at previous years’ daily figures, we can tell exactly when the ships were in Town.’

The MSC Virtuosa has capacity for more passengers than any other cruise ship scheduled to stop off in Guernsey this year.

It had 4,261 passengers on board when it anchored off St Peter Port.

Tourism officials say that people coming ashore off cruise liners to visit the island are often around 90% of the ship’s passengers – well above the industry average of about 65%.