Scilly Is One Of England’s ‘Greatest Assets’ Says Tourism Boss

James Berresford

James Berresford

Scilly is one of VisitEngland’s “greatest assets.” That’s the view of their Chief Executive who spent a day and a half visiting four of the islands last week.

It was James Berresford’s first visit and he says he’s impressed with the “magical’ nature of Scilly’s landscape and light.

James feels that the islands have a lot to offer with stunning scenery and nature. And he is full of praise for the warm and welcoming people whom he met.

He tells Radio Scilly that it was refreshing to experience the “energy” within our tourism sector and how everyone believes that the islands’ product is first class.

The Islands’ Partnership and VisitCornwall’s Malcolm Bell accompanied James on his short tour. Most of his trip was for fact-finding purposes but some locals did ask James for his views on how we might improve tourism

James says the declining visitor numbers are more to do with the competition that we face from international destinations, rather than a problem with the islands.

He’s impressed with what has been achieved so far with a limited marketing budget and is full-of-praise for the new tourism website. But James believes there’s more that can be done.

He feels there should be connectivity or mutual promotion between pubs, hotels, boats and services so that visitors get a better understanding of what is on offer.

There should also be inter-island marketing to encourage repeat visits, he says.

James accepts that Scilly is not the cheapest holiday option but says that we do need to be a “great value destination.” He suggests that we focus on “delighting” visitors with the experience of Scilly so that they don’t notice the price of travel so much.

More could be done to pursue the higher end of the market, says James, where price is not such a factor.

Now he has an understanding of the islands, he says he wants to help. James is arranging a Visit England workshop where islanders will be able to tap into the knowledge of his accommodation, food and retail experts.

This event will be held jointly with the Islands’ Partnership at the end of the season.

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