Scilly’s Visitor Numbers Leap For First Time Since Recession

skybus twin ottersFor the first time since the recession, Scilly is experiencing an increase in visitor numbers.

Radio Scilly can reveal exclusively that the Steamship Company’s year-on-year passenger bookings are up 5.5%.

Chief Executive Rob Goldsmith says a new emphasis on marketing by the company and the Islands’ Partnership has helped achieve the boost to tourism.

He says his team is still learning what promotional tools work and he’s determined to try different strategies to encourage passengers, although he admits it could take several years for those efforts to bear fruit.

Rob says he intends to work closely with partners to offer special fares, deals and offers to get people over and maintain the upward trend.

And he expressed his support for the Islands’ Partnership in bringing together the different marketing activities for the islands. Rob believes this will make a big difference over time.

The turnaround in the passenger numbers is particularly pleasing, he says, considering the pessimism after the winter storms and he feels it’s great news for the islands’ economy.

In an effort to boost numbers even further, Skybus could start Sunday flying next year. Rob says he’s been told “time and time again” that accommodation providers want the flexibility of a Sunday service.

Seven-day flying is not currently possible because the Council-run airport hasn’t got enough Air Traffic Controllers to cover the extra day.

Chairman of the Islands Partnership, Chris Gregory, said all the signs are that this year’s tourism season is set to break the trend of the past 10 years and see an increase in visitor numbers.

He said Scilly is never busy, “but it is very rewarding to see so many new faces discovering the delights of our islands.”

Chris feels the Islands’ Partnership has worked hard to promote the islands to a new audience and they’re now seeing the results, with substantially greater enquiries through the Visit IOS website and higher levels of advance bookings for travel and accommodation across many sectors.

“With the current glorious weather,” says Chris, “the summer season is off to a flying start.”

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