Islands Can’t Be Complacent After Improved Season Says Steamship Boss

Steamship Company Chief Executive Rob Goldsmith

Steamship Company Chief Executive Rob Goldsmith

The Chief Executive of the Steamship Company says the islands can’t be complacent over future visitor numbers despite our good 2014 season.

Rob Goldsmith says the marketing work of the Islands’ Partnership is “making waves” however, and is helping boost tourism bookings.

Rob believes that Scilly’s future growth as a destination will come through extending the season.

He says he’s been told frequently that the Christmas break used to bring in many visitors and he thinks there’s potential for more growth outside the peak season.

Rob says that he is “here to listen” and partner with businesses who want to work together on promotions and he promises that the Steamship Company will respond to demand.

Rob says the Steamship Company will try to “lead from the front” where they can and offer promotions to stimulate demand as they have done in October.

But he feels islanders can do more too. Rob says this summer’s Sunday sailings have been very popular with daytrippers, but he’s received complaints from some who were disappointed that businesses were shut when they arrived.

Rob accepts that not everyone wants to extend their season or opening hours and that some islanders choose to operate businesses that suit their lifestyle, but he feels that there is a balance to be struck in giving visitors what they want.

And he says the islands’ need to “move with the times” and make booking holidays here as easy and integrated as possible for travellers.

Speaking ahead of the Islands’ Partnership AGM next week, Rob, who is standing for re-election as a director, says the tourism body’s marketing work is now reaping rewards.

He says it always takes time to build up momentum but feels the Partnership’s efforts in getting media attention and recognition for the islands has been “absolutely tremendous.”

But even though the Partnership has seen some success in increasing numbers, he doesn’t want the tourism sector to think everything is now sorted.

He says the biggest threat is complacency and there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done to rebuild the market.

And Rob warns that we’ve “shot ourselves in the foot for the last 18 months” talking about how hard it has been to get to Scilly following the demise of the helicopters.

Although we’ve turned the corner with tourism numbers rising again, he cautions that the  “doom and gloom and pessimism did us no good at all.”

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