Islands’ Partnership Announces New Executive Director

islands partnership logoThe Islands’ Partnership has announced its new Executive Director.

David Jackson is currently the Head of Marketing at Bath Tourism and will take up the role in December.

It’s the first time the islands’ tourism body has employed a paid director and a manager in a senior role since its formation in 2012.

The position was advertised earlier this summer as a £60,000 a year appointment with the option for the appointed manager to live in either Scilly or on the mainland.

Mr Jackson has previously worked as the Visitor Information and Quality Manager for the North West Development Agency.

Islands’ Partnership Chairman Chris Gregory says he’ll bring experienced tourism management to Scilly and will be charged with finding new groups of visitors and making sure they “can connect comfortably with Flybe, First Great Western and Lufthansa.”

At Friday’s AGM, Chris said he’s celebrating the fact that the islands’ tourism sector has “bottomed out” after a long period of decline and has begun to “claw our way back.”

The industry had seen the first growth in visitor numbers since 2002 and many of those where here for the first time.

There was more good news, with a 20% rise in tourists during the ‘shoulder’ season in September and a record 15,000 cruise ship passengers coming ashore, said Chris.

But he cautioned that the “tender shoots of recovery” would require nurturing if we’re to transform them into sustainable growth.

Chris praised the work of the Partnership, which in it’s second year had been “applying a lot of quick grow fertiliser.” He said their achievements were an “impressively long list.”

Visitors recognised that Scilly was “like nowhere else in England,” says Chris, but they also comment on some poorer aspects of our offering. That included accommodation that is not up to scratch, food that doesn’t always make the mark, transport that is poorly coordinated and levels of service that leave scope for improvement.

And he said there have been times this summer when St Mary’s has been like an enormous building site but it was necessary to give us the sort of transport infrastructure that will be the envy of the mainland.

The Partnership also seems to be on a good footing financially.

Total income from subscriptions, trading activity and donations was just over £235,000, with a further £114,000 coming from Local Action Group grants.

They spent £326,000 resulting in a surplus of £23,000, which will be reinvested into the organisation.

Chris told members this would be the last time he addressed them as Chairman, because changes in his job as Duchy Land Steward means he’ll be giving up the position soon.

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