Visit Britain Says Self Catering Accommodation Needs Improvement

Tourist Information Centre in Hugh Town

Scilly visitors receive warmer hospitality than in most English destinations and our accommodation is cleaner than average.

But some self-catering units need to be cleaner.

That’s the message from Visit Britain’s Pam Foden, who visited the islands and explained the new accommodation accreditation systems last week.

Standards are assessed from a benchmark of 7500 English properties.

The average English tourism business is rated at 79% for warmth of welcome. Scilly scores 81%.

The Council’s Julian Pearce says that is impressive, as we don’t have 5-star ratings to boost our overall figure.

The average UK holiday property had an 82% cleanliness rating while here the figure is 86%.

However, Visit Britain are offering to return to the islands to offer tips on cleaning for self-catering unit owners whose sector is 2% below the UK average.

Pam says her inspectors will check for clean fridge seals, crumbs in drawer and stray hairs. And units should appear as if no one else had stayed there.

They’re also planning a workshop on improving quality of B&B breakfasts and encourage more use of island produce.

Pam says they’re keen to help, as some islanders may feel more isolated than their mainland counterparts.

Pam says she was impressed with Scilly and it was clear people are proud of the islands as many accommodation providers told her they had moved here after holidaying in the islands.

Tourism Lead, Julian Pearce

The Council Tourism lead, Julian Pearce, feels third-party assessment is important and says the meeting heard how accommodation quality had improved markedly since the introduction of ratings.

Sophie Hughes from the TIC says the islands have the highest take up of AA or Visit Britain accreditation in the country, with 85% uptake, and this could be due to it being mandatory for inclusion in the Simply Scilly brochure.

Island Tourism Joint Chair Euan Rodger says he believes the session showed it was obvious that many joined the scheme just to ‘tick the box’ so they could get entry into the Simply Scilly brochure and that was something that his board believes needs addressing.

Pam Foden thinks it’s possible that Scilly could top the table with 100% accreditation and there could be a basic level of assessment for businesses to show they meet safety and cleanliness standards.

But while national figures show an upgrade to 4-stars is worth an extra 3 bookings a month, locals didn’t feel that was the case.

Euan added that the Visit Britain session was useful but it did demonstrate the lack of understanding of the accreditation scheme by many.