Four Members Of FRIST Advisory Group Resign
Four members of the Friends of Isles of Scilly Transport advisory group have quit.
The group was set up to campaign for subsidies for Scilly’s travel services, similar to those enjoyed by Scottish islanders.
The resignations of Clifford Freeman, John Peacock, Alasdair Moore and Sam Guy follow claims that FRIST is giving potential visitors the incorrect impression that Scilly is hard to travel to.
Clifford Freeman who owns St Mary’s Hall Hotel and Scilly Self Catering told Radio Scilly that there are many positive things happening now in Scilly but “FRIST is not one of them.”
FRIST’s publicity over travel issues following the end of the helicopter service has helped give the impression that the Islands are closed when Scilly is very much, “open for business”, he says.
Clifford says he has spoken to people who believe that there is now no other way to get to the islands. He says the message that there has been more investment in travel than for several decades, and that the Steamship Company has risen to the challenge, has been lost, although he accepts there have been ‘teething problems’ over winter.
Tresco marketing manager Alasdair Moore has also resigned from FRIST.
He attended the outdoor show in London and says he was shocked that 70% of the people he spoke with thought that travel to Scilly was impossible or extremely difficult. He does not blame FRIST but says he is worried that the public nature of the FRIST discussion contributes to this perception.
Alasdair also feels that Skybus has done an “outstanding” job in coping with appalling weather conditions, which have been responsible for a national transport crisis.
John Peacock says he’s resigned because FRIST was making his close working relationship with the Council and other tourism partners difficult.
In a statement issued by FRIST’s Dick Cliffe and Marian Bennett, the group claim that even though FRIST seeks to work constructively with all parties, various interests get challenged and being a member of the advisory group has not been for the faint-hearted.
FRIST says there has always been pressure not to do anything that might harm next year’s tourist bookings and to play down even this current winter’s transport difficulties.
That presents problems for a lobbying group they say, but FRIST’s main purpose has always been to ensure that the government and the EU are made aware of the truth of the situation and potential future risks for Scilly.
FRIST has been criticised for negative national press but they claim most of this occurred when the helicopter service ended in November.
Tim Guthrie and Avril Mumford have taken two of the four vacant seats on the FRIST advisory group.