New Tourism Brochure Team Start Work

The Islands’ Tourism Brochure Working Party met yesterday to plan next year’s publication.

It’s the third year that Gendall Design of Falmouth will produce the holiday guide and there won’t be any major changes as the new tourism authority, merging the current responsibilities of the Council, Island Tourism and Island Marketing, could be in charge this time next year.

The guide will look more or less the same but with a 30% reduction in text.

Sophie Hughes from the Tourist Information Centre, told us the Working Party discussed relaxing the restriction on businesses advertising in the brochure if that haven’t had accommodation accredited through an approved scheme, but the group agreed there’ll be no change this year.

Accommodation won’t be featured unless they have been inspected, or the owners intend having them graded, by the AA or Quality in Tourism, who work for Visit England.

However, Sophie says that people in the industry are aware of the failings and flaws in the current accreditation system and there will be a need to keep up with current trends.

She added that visitors these days also use “a far greater suite of tools” to choose their accommodation than they did 10 years ago.

We also spoke to Malcolm Bell of Visit Cornwall. Malcolm told us that his tourism authority is already introducing a more flexible approach to ratings.

From Radio Scilly

Malcolm Bell talks to Radio Scilly about Cornwall’s approach to ratings

He says that, with the internet and sites such as TripAdvisor, people have more ways to research their travel and see other peoples views on the accommodation.

While Visit Cornwall will still support the traditional star ratings which, he says, “provide a standardised system for comparing properties”, they’ll also provide local inspections against the basics standards of ‘legal, safe and clean’.

Malcolm says that, while he doesn’t agree that the days of the traditional ratings inspector with a clipboard are numbered, he believes their role could change to be more industry-focused, providing guidance to accommodation providers about how they can improve their offering.

And he says that, as Cornwall begin to roll out their new system this year, he’d be happy to share their experiences with our Tourist Information Centre team.

Euan Rodger of Island Tourism said, with the news that VisitBritain is reviewing and in some cases ceasing their accreditation schemes, he agrees with Malcolm Bell that it will fall on the tourism industry to react to future needs in this regard.

“We welcome Visit Cornwall’s lead in this and we will monitor their new scheme closely” he told us.

The whole subject of accreditation will no doubt be on the agenda of the first meeting of the new Tourism Partnership and it is within this new body that a solution for Scilly will eventually be formulated and agreed.