Business Owner Expresses Shock At Poor Service

Clifford Freeman, owner of St Mary's Hall Hotel

The owner of several Scilly tourism businesses says he was so fed up at the way visitors were being treated in Hugh Town over the weekend, he just wanted to go back home to the mainland.

Clifford Freeman, who owns St Mary’s Hall Hotel and Scilly Self Catering, says he and his guests experienced a poor attitude to visitors over the Easter break.

He says one shop practically accused kids of stealing when they had just removed stock from the display to try on items.

In another, an assistant didn’t break off a conversation or offer acknowledgement when it was Clifford’s turn at the till, but simply stretched out their hand to take payment.

Clifford believes some don’t want to deal with visitors but just want their cash.

He finds it incredible that they can’t see that the visitor is the reason they can live their lifestyle, and thinks customer service is worse than on the mainland.

Clifford, who is a board member of the new Tourism Partnership, says he understands why some people won’t appreciate him speaking out as it could generate  bad publicity.

But he won’t bury his head in the sand.

He feels that until the culture on Scilly changes then tourist numbers will continue to drop and that will affect his businesses too.

When asked what gives him, a mainland resident, the right to speak out, he says he comes here as a tourist regularly and sees Scilly in a way locals may not.

He wants people to treat visitors well so that they have “the whole experience” and enjoy  a product that is “consistently right.”

Some islanders, like Lyndsey Sawyer, don’t feel Clifford should have spoken out in a public forum but guesthouse owner Sam Mallon adds that she’s not sure whether the place for sharing such an opinion was appropriate or not, but his comments are accurate.


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