French Islands’ Tourism Group Meet With Their Scilly Counterparts

finistere visitors
Anyone looking at photos of the Ponant Isles, which stretch along the west coast of Brittany, could easily mistake them for the Isles of Scilly, with their granite outcrops, white sandy beaches and wild agapanthus.

But with no bridges linking them to mainland France, and problems with a declining tourism market, they seem to be facing many of the same issues as us too.

That was what Council and tourism representatives heard when they met a delegation of their counterparts from the Finistère region on Friday.

Vice Chair of Finistère Council and Head of their tourism body, Michael Quernez said Scilly is seen as a popular tourist destination and the delegation wanted to learn how they could improve their own offering.

Michael says visitors to his islands tend to stay for much shorter periods than in Scilly, normally around a day or so, and there are fewer hotels and guesthouses.

But he says many of the issues we face are the same, such as protecting the environment, ensuring a clean water supply and dealing with waste.

Michael said he was impressed with the joined-up transport connections here, with good links between the quay, the airport and the hotels and that’s something he’d like to see happen in Finistère.

It was Michael’s first visit to Scilly, which he described as “fantastic” and he said he wants to return here with his family.

The visitors were accompanied by Malcolm Bell, the head of Visit Cornwall, who arranged the trip to Scilly. Visit Cornwall has strong links to the tourist organisation in Brittany.

During their visit, the delegation had a tour of Porthcressa, to see how EU money was being spent and heard how superfast broadband is being rolled out here next year.

They also watched the gig racing on Friday evening and took a tour of Tresco Abbey Gardens on Saturday.