Guernsey Press

‘Island needs to make visitors more aware of our rich history’

Partnerships between tourism businesses will look to give visitors a more exciting holiday, following a workshop yesterday.

Last updated
Tour guide Amanda Johns at Fort Hommet, where she is launching a walking tour. Miss Johns was pleased that Festung Guernsey has enabled access to two bunkers on the headland. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 32954542)

The Visit Guernsey workshop event attracted representatives across the sector to brainstorm new heritage ideas, with a particular focus on the Occupation.

The workshop at Les Cotils attracted about 50 guests from hoteliers to event and activity organisers to passenger carriers like Aurigny and Condor.

‘Pretty much every corner of the Guernsey tourism sector was here,’ said States marketing officer Jo Ferguson.

‘It was an opportunity to see how we can collectively work to develop and improve the visitor product and experience. In particular how we can help stimulate and support new product with a heritage theme, that we can then use to promote the islands,’ she said.

Miss Ferguson said the morning had seen some exciting ideas being put forward, with hotels connecting with tour guides and visitor attractions to offer packages and deals.

‘We have had Le Chene Hotel looking at offering tickets to the nearby Occupation Museum, Guernsey Rib Adventures reinventing their bunker tour, Camp de Reves opening up the bunkers on their property for tours, and even the Priaulx Library getting involved with their archives and Occupation offering,’ she said.

‘We want to push out those shoulder seasons so people come later and stay longer, and encouraging providers to have more offerings during these periods will help do that.’

Tour guide Amanda Johns, who is the vice-chairwoman of Guernsey Tourism Partnership, was one of those expanding her network at the event.

‘Visit Guernsey approached us to come up with ideas to promote heritage and tourism and the workshop came up out of those conversations,’ she said.

‘It has been an excellent morning, this was an open forum and a chance to collaborate with people you normally don’t get to meet and to discuss our ideas to promote the island’s heritage, especially around the Second World War, with the 80th anniversary of D-Day this year and the 80th anniversary of Liberation Day next year.’

Miss Johns is launching a tour around Fort Hommet, and was at the event talking to accommodation and travel providers.

‘We now have access to two of the Festung bunkers that have not been open before, as they now have electricity,’ she said, ‘and we want to take advantage of that.’

A member of Festung Guernsey herself, she was part of the volunteer team who helped to lay a new electric cable to connect the fortifications.

‘Our sector was hit hardest by Covid and has had the longest recovery, but there is real positivity about this year,’ she said.

‘Guernsey is in the perfect position as we have some rich heritage and history, and we need to make people aware of it.’