Fams, food and festivals boost Guernsey tourism

Travel agents are being called upon to help sell Guernsey as a destination, in a year where visitor figures are up and the tourist board will host its inaugural food festival.

VisitGuernsey has reported a 7.3% increase in staying visitors – those travelling on business, leisure and to see family and friends – for Q1 2015, compared to the same period last year.

This has led to the number of bed nights sold increasing by 8.5% to 118,500 for Q1.

To promote tourism to the island and its neighbours out of season, the Guernsey International Food Festival will run from Friday September 18 to Sunday September 27.

Centred largely around the capital St Peter Port, but further afield too, the festival will feature promotions in restaurants and cocktail bars, markets and shows, interactive events and children-focused activities.

Visitors will be encouraged to eat and drink produce that comes from the island, both in restaurants and via demonstrations with local chefs.

Tennerfest – a long-running Channel Islands food festival – will follow, starting on October 1 and running for six weeks.

“The trade will be very important in selling Guernsey this year and in the future,” said Wendy Pedder, marketing manager for VisitGuernsey.

“Trade campaigns such as posters promoting foodie offers over the food festival and Tennerfest will be part of the trade campaign.”

Pedder said the organisation is working on securing additional offers to tie in with this, with a clear sell on the food festival on operator sites and visitguernsey.com.

She said Channel Islands travel specialist Premier Holidays has begun placing adverts promoting the festival.

“We will continue to offer fam trips for agents and operators, having recently completed a dedicated fam with great feedback,” continued Pedder.

“In the main we do this via the operators who identify top agents to bring over.”

VisitGuernsey is one of the sponsors of this year’s Travel Brit Awards celebrating domestic tourism, which take place on Sunday June 28.

“We are planning on targeting all the winners of the awards,” said Pedder.

Mike Hopkins, director of marketing and tourism at VisitGuernsey, added: “It is encouraging to see this growth in Q1 which is traditionally a quieter time on the island for tourism. It is thanks to the efforts of our on and off island partners that our season is extending outside of the peak summer booking period for staying visitors.”