Partnership Wants Scilly’s Tourism Economy To Grow By £5m

tourist information centre flagThe Islands’ Partnership is hoping to grow Scilly’s tourism economy by £5m over the next two years.

The ambitious target is highlighted in their new annual report, which is going out to members this week.

Executive Director David Jackson says official figures show that visitors to the islands brought in £33m in 2013 and he expects the 2014 data, being released shortly, to show a slight improvement on that.

But he says they’re keen to push those figures even higher, adding a further £5m annually by 2017.

Passenger numbers have been up by 9% this year, and David says that means they could be well on their way to this target.

He says it’s not just about “getting more people through the turnstiles” – it’s also encouraging those visitors to spend more when they’re here.

And the Partnership wants to improve occupancy at quiet times of the year.

David says the new Events Team is key to that and they’re hoping to attract an additional 5,000 visitors, which he says will “put bums on seats and pounds in the tills.”

David says the good thing about Scilly’s economy is that it’s “circular” with money tending to stay here more than it would in other tourist areas on the mainland.

“Growing the figures will be good for everyone,” he says.

David is encouraging people to read the Partnership’s annual report and sign up for another season.

He says this year they’d like to increase the range of “value added benefits” for members, in addition to marketing.

This could include training courses, business support and even product development funded by the new round of European cash, which is about to come on stream.

The Partnership are holding drop-in sessions at the TIC for existing and potential members to ask questions on 1st and 3rd September.

21 Responses to Partnership Wants Scilly’s Tourism Economy To Grow By £5m

  1. Ray Wornes August 29, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    I gave up trying to get on the Council after two attempts. It’s possible my mistake was to say I wanted to preserve the natural environment which may tell us something. I doubt whether my ideas could ever be fully explained or fully understood in this type of political set up. Some of you jokers just wouldn’t ever understand what I am saying anyway and your personal attacks based on assumptions couldn’t be more wrong which I’m sure doesn’t worry you. There have been times when I have thought is it worth it but I believe I have achieved a lot for our school children through years of representations to Govt. and the Council to close the polluting incinerator. I also made representations to the Gov’t to build a new school. It takes decades to get through to the management here even when there is proof that something is seriously wrong so even your own children can’t benefit from your efforts to change things. I kept going despite this because I believe that island children are the most important people in this place who will inherit what we leave behind. We have a responsibility to protect them and to leave this place in better condition than we found it. We have made some progress recently which could easily be cancelled out by local politics and what comes next is what I worry about. I honestly can’t have much hope for the Scilly environment or tourism given the aims of those who are making the policies. There is such a thing as good development but more and more estate type green field development here will slowly but surely destroy the country environment we and our visitors love. I have always been in favour of housing for local need so don’t keep on trying to bend the truth critics. It seems housing in the future may not just be built for local need and it could be that the sky’s the limit if we are not careful to impose sensible controls.

    • Linguine August 30, 2015 at 8:49 am

      Is it possible that the electorate measured you by the column inch and found you seriously wanting?
      Do you actually believe the things you write about “representations to Government”, can you imagine any government in any country on the planet following your guidance on children’s education? If you can you are deluding yourself.

      STAND FOR ELECTION or stop telling the rest of us here on Earth how to live!

    • Ewart August 31, 2015 at 1:59 pm

      “gave up after two attempts”
      You cannot be described as Robert the Bruce and his spider they succeeded at the 7th.attempt !!!
      My belief is. you reside at McFarlands Downs, this was once a greenfield site. If your policy was in place at the time the properties were built, you would not be living there at this time.

  2. maggiemay August 29, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Peter – I have got something to say to you and that is that you have a lot to say !!!! Why don’t you not come over here to live and sort everything and everybody out.

    • Kastri August 29, 2015 at 8:51 am

      In terms of sorting things out – there is a lot of resistance to addressing simple deliverables that would take scilly forward and boy have I tried. Beautiful place, great people so much to offer. But, and it’s a big but, pardon the pun, you have to be realistic and there are key community and decision makers with head in the sand. Sure there will be different views, that life – but have worked around the world negotiating change for the better, scilly is a difficulty for those reasons

  3. Ray Wornes August 28, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Can you imagine how you would feel Peter if like me you had lived here for decades taking issue with the many contradictory policies being made by ‘the management’. ‘The management’ is a combination of the leaders of business and the Council. I suspect they control things by keeping out or bottling up anyone like me who has alternative proposals. Such as a much better transport service or a much better waste service which will protect the living and the natural environment. Normal practice would be to discuss my representations with me before decisions are made but they maintain total silence. This seems to be why little here works as it should even as far as good business sense for tourism dictates . Therefore is there an invisible cap on tourist numbers which is perpetuated by maintaining high levels of frustration with transport services etc? Could these be resolved for example by, as a priority, reinstating an all weather Helicopter service etc? There are a number of important issues being determined at the moment that are setting policies for the long term that are inappropriate to creating a better future that I suspect have already been set in stone by ‘the management’. On transport I fear the future may be ‘little or no change’ on services for another 40 years and on waste I suspect they will privatise parts of the operation that will deliver damage to the living, the natural and the tourist environment of St.Mary’s. This is not what I have been asking for which has been met by total silence. Then there are the policies on housing that again are in my view destroying the green field environment. They are not delivering what could be a progressive housing policy and a better planned living environment through having minimal development of a maximum of two new houses but on more sites. Building more, in your face, large housing estates in the green countryside as is being proposed, will slowly kill off tourism. Thank goodness for Scilly

    • Peter August 28, 2015 at 1:52 pm

      Ray: I’ve been saying on here for years – out of a despairing love of Scilly – that “the management” is not fit for purpose and the administration of Scilly should be taken over by Cornwall Council, not that Cornwall Council is much better, but at least it has a bigger stock of talent to choose from and it would integrate Scilly into the mainstream, rather than Scilly being an outpost, where bizarre administrative decisions can be made which would never be allowed on the mainland. Some of course want it to be an outpost, but I think Scilly is now suffering more from its isolation than it is gaining from it. Scilly Council is inept in so many ways, whether it be re waste management, as you say, the hushing up of info re toxic leaks from the tip (next to the school!!!), the mind-boggling treatment of the former head teacher (so many human resources rules broken – allegedly – that heads should have rolled long ago), the treatment of street traders, the cock-up over runway re-surfacing, the airport overspend, the inability to retain air traffic controllers or any number of other displays of incompetence. I’m not quite as convinced as you are about the conspiracy theory, though I do believe that small isolated communities inevitably produce powerful cliques and if you are not in them you are stuffed; I’m more inclined to view most councillors as well-meaning but utterly out of their depth. However, the more I find out about the Duchy, the more I realise both how powerful and archaic/feudal it is, and I don’t think Cornwall County Council would be able to take on the Duchy, especially re building issues, so I suspect Scilly is kaput. Well done you for living there. I wouldn’t last more than a few weeks. I would have pee’d off all my neighbours with my outspoken views!
      Also, to maggiemay, I think I got something to say to you: I have no problem with Scillonians taking two or three weeks of well deserved break, naturally. However, other than the skiing resorts, I can’t think of any other holiday resorts (and that is what the Isles of Scilly are, given the lack of any other notable industry) which are for all intents and purposes closed for business for six out of twelve months (October to March). I don’t believe that repairs and re-decoration take that long, and businesses on the mainland do not normally close for repairs for such lengthy periods, nor could they afford to.

    • Ray of light August 28, 2015 at 5:19 pm

      Interested to read your comments about transport Ray, were you not one of the leaders of the group that fought to stop the runway extension in the 80s? Was this part of one of your grand plans to boost our economy?

    • P.O. Laris August 28, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      I really do sympathise with you, it must be so frustrating to move somewhere only to find that it’s not what you first expected…
      I think it’s only right and proper that you tell us all where the young families that are the life blood of this community and wish to make Scilly their home should be allowed to have their homes?
      Perhaps a split housing market would be the way to go or compulsary 106s on anyone trying to sell their freehold property?
      It’s ok for you to sit there inflicting your opinions about how Scilly should be run in your utopian mind but what you have still failed to grasp over the decades is that we Scillonians don’t like to be told what to do or how to do it by people that have only been here for 5 minutes talk to us as if we still live in caves and have no concept of how to do anything for ourselves. Yes there are those that need a gentle nudge in the right direction but i think you get those everywhere strangely it makes Scilly what it is.
      When you tell us all how the transport systems can be greatly improved by a fast ferry that leaves here early in the morning and returns in the late afternoon/early evening and you get replies from Master Mariners mentioning fuel burn and significant wave heights and dominant wave periods and Directors of shipping companies saying why it won’t work because the day trip market is what plays a massive part in Scilly economy because of the finite number of bed spaces etc they are doing it because you have outwitted them and they never contemplated such witchcraft before..
      It’s the same with your all weather helicopter service. Ok it would probably fly a few more days than its fixed wing counterpart but it’s not going to fly in fog is it? Also it’s going to cost a hell of a lot more than the alternative in terms of everything associated with it.
      I totally agree with you on the whole waste subject it really does need to be tackled.
      I’m sure there are far more cleverer people than what i am who will tell us what is best practise and policy regarding waste.
      How about they have a comunial compost heap for food and garden waste the resulting product could be sold off with the right marketing it could be exported?
      (Scilly @@@@ make your roses a hit) < copywrited!!!
      I'm lead to believe cans can be recycled and there are numerous bottle banks around the island for a similiar purpose.
      Everytime i pass the dump i can't help noticing the vast amount of wood there, what if the council employed someone to turn it into fire wood that too could be sold or perhaps as a gesture of goodwill given to the senior citizens that have fires in their homes?
      White goods are crushed and sent to the mainland.
      Plastics erm errr erm dunno
      Metal recycling is big business.
      Luckily for us when they quarried the materials to build the house you live in it left a bit of a hole at the end of your road would it not be an un reasonable suggestion to return building rubble to this hole and perhaps one day it will look like it did many many many years ago?
      Unfortunatly i have a full time job and my time with my family is important to me.
      But,,,,,If you really want to make a difference then stand for council get out there from behind your keyboard and actually do something for your community…

    • Linguine August 29, 2015 at 8:55 am

      You have been here for decades you have done precisely nothing in all that time other than tell those of us who work for a living how to run our lives. If you are so well informed and so able to see the best way to determine our future STAND FOR ELECTION, quite frankly you would sit well alongside some of the others that are fumbling along juggling with our future at the moment.
      If you are not prepared to stand for election for pity’s sake give us all some peace!

  4. maggiemay August 28, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Peter – having read you missive, you are extremely critical of the local people running businesses, the winter months are vital to the preparations for the forthcoming summer seasons, as Adam points out DIY is needed, and if you were on the island for the whole of the winter you would be able to witness for yourself. And yes the Islanders, after a long summer season do need some respite to recharge their batteries and get their properties up and running, repairs and decoration is always required after months of visitors. Not only that the winter weather in Scilly is exceptionally unpredictable, if you think getting to the islands in summer can be a problem you should experience the winter travel. We do not appreciate your comments as some of them are very unjust. I am sure the thousands you have put into the local economy is very much appreciated.

  5. Peter August 27, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    to Adam: Yes, we’ve been every month from March to October inclusive, mostly in the summer. My family has put tens of thousands of pounds into the Scilly economy. I have never once complained about high prices in my years of posting on this website. I totally understand that costs are much higher and I’m prepared to pay them. My point has always been that there are very few people who share that view. High costs are inevitable and thus there is no scope for fiddling with that aspect of the visitor experience in order to attract or keep visitors. What’s left to improve is access, availability and quality. That is what my posts are always about.
    to Fed up Business owner: You say “I am so sick of business owners in Scilly being grouped together as greedy, lazy grumpy people…”. If you read my post I am careful, as always, to avoid generalisations. I refer quite deliberately to “too many Scillonians”, as there are notable exceptions who run modern and successful businesses on the islands. I quite intentionally use provocative language in my posts as I want to stir people up. I anticipated the kind of reply you posted: we would open if visitors would come. No, no, no! It works the other way round: you open and the visitors might come. It’s a guaranteed certainty that if you are not open for business you won’t get business; but if you are open for business you might get business. A fundamental principle in life is that we can only ever be responsible for our own actions; we can only change ourselves. We can’t make other people do things. Scilly is sleep-walking its way to oblivion. You have to fight for every penny, or leave the tourism industry. No-one is going to hand you an easy life. The glory days of twenty or thirty years ago were a mere blip in the history of islands which have throughout history been poverty-stricken, and are likely to be so again unless there are massive changes. Any successful business thrives on customer feedback, even if it’s unpleasant to hear. When you say “I am so sick of business owners in Scilly being grouped together as greedy, lazy grumpy people whose only interest is in getting rich as fast as possible and spending the winters lording it up in the Maldives”, either you can get angry about people’s comments, and, by your own admission this is clearly something you hear a lot, or you can say “we need to reflect on this… If this is something I hear regularly and it’s not true (a) what are we doing to give people this impression and (b) how can we correct this mis-perception?”.

  6. Adam Morton, St.Martins August 27, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Peter, we are well aware of the transport problems. Have you tried coming at a time of year when the sun is shining, the shops are open and the sea is smooth? October is cheaper for a reason! The increase that IP claim credit for is the result of loss leader promotions to attract people who can’t afford it, don’t spend any money and complain. Having brilliant ideas is not the problem, financing them is! If you want year round service which needs permanent staff then Tresco estate should be able to oblige you at the appropriate price! Even the most successful business with a monopoly, the SSco has about £500k of leeway which amounts to about £3.50 worth of improvements for each visitor. We bear these high costs and low services 24/7/52 rather than a couple of weeks a year. Many of us will have been working 60-100hr weeks for months now and will not be off for our hols in the sun! The proceeds from service industries do not cover decorators, engineers & builders so time is needed for DIY and in many cases a winter job to make ends meet. I do wish you and others would stop referring to Scilly as if it were a single entity with universal aims & consciousness and funds, it’s not! This IP propaganda will be used to justify fare & rent increases, meaning any eventual good to come from attracting more visitors back by holding prices and making severe efficiencies will be completely cancelled out! In most cases the cost of a meal in Scilly has barely risen in ten years despite record inflation and a decline in numbers.

  7. Yearlywintervisitor August 26, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    We always bring at least 6 people in February half term, we are grateful to those shops & restaurants that do open, but struggle to spend our money as less & less businesses are operating at this time. Come on Scilly! The rest of the UK is expanding into these weeks, the islands have much to offer in the winter months & could do so much more to attract tourists.

  8. Fed Up Business owner August 26, 2015 at 10:18 am

    I am so sick of business owners in Scilly being grouped together as greedy, lazy grumpy people whose only interest is in getting rich as fast as possible and spending the winters lording it up in the Maldives!! Please can we have a reality check here. I run a business on Scilly that is tourist based. My reason for doing so originally was that I wanted to live and bring up my children in the place of my birth, and as tourism is the main industry other options were limited. I used to work and provide a service 12 months of the year until it came to a point that winter trade had dropped so much it became unviable. The truth is that from November to mid February I cannot make enough money to cover the costs of running. Now I appreciate that those few that do visit between those times would like the islands and everything to be open and running……fact is I am running a business not a subsidised service. In recent years times have been tough for all of us. Where before I could employ help and therefore enjoy the odd day off during the season, for several years that has not been a possibility. Like many businesses here, overheads have been cut to the bone and working 7 days a week from March to end October is the only way to stay afloat. Now I apologise for wanting an easier time of it from November to February …..get the basic maintenance done, maybe get to the mainland to visit family and regroup ready for the next season. How dreadful of me. I do not view the visitors we welcome as nuisances who I can’t wait to get rid of. Over the years many have become friends with whom the yearly catch up and chat is a welcome lift to the day. Yes it is expensive to get here, yes travel disruption is a pain to all of us, particularly when you are trying to get away for medical reasons. Would I like to see all of these problems solved? Of course I would, meanwhile I am trying to lead a life with my family in my home, and hopefully one day afford to retire here too….not so different from anyone else. I certainly won’t be spending the winter in the Maldives ….those days for businesses in Scilly are well and truly over. Survival is what’s it been about for the last 6 years at least. People like pete seem to think that we have missed that point, and are living in an ignorant bubble cushioned from reality…believe me I certainly am not.

  9. Peter August 25, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Sciily’s business leaders want more trade… Meanwhile, back in the real world… I’ve just checked the websites for Exeter and Newquay Airports (I’m on the mainland). Flights to Scilly all delayed… yet again. No-one in Scilly seems to be verbalising what a disastrous summer this must be for the tourism business given the appalling weather and what surely must be a record number of flight cancellations/delays. I stand to be corrected. If people can’t get to Scilly (or off Scilly, just as crucially) in summer, what hope for the autumn, winter and spring? I know there is new technology being installed later in the year at the airport, but this is not going to make a great difference, I gather. It pains me to say, but I’m beginning – just beginning – to wonder whether it’s worth us booking another holiday in Scilly because of the uncertainty about travel. We’ve had to use the Scillonian this year and I hate it. The idea of a holiday is to have something to look forward to and enjoy, not spend the run up to the holiday dreading it and scanning the forecasts, then having the holiday spoilt by the fear of having to return on the sick-machine. Likewise, even allowing for potential Sunday flying, weekend breaks are just too risky for many because they may not be able to get back home in time for work. And weekend breaks have to be the future for tourism on Scilly, just as they are the bread and butter for all UK holiday destinations nowadays.
    If a devoted Scillyphile such as me, after nearly 30 years of regularly visiting the islands, is thinking “maybe no more” then you are in big trouble.
    As I’ve said so many times here before, there is obviously a limit to how much accommodation is available, so you must use what there is to your full advantage, i.e. stay open in autumn, winter and spring, just as it’s crazy to build an expensive school and keep it closed in the evenings. But that’s not going to happen, because too many Scillonians have the attitude that they want their islands back from we wretched tourists*, so, as we discovered on an October visit, we are made not to feel welcome, partly because many of the eateries are closed, and partly because it’s made clear to us that the locals would rather be in Barbados or the Maldives now that it’s THEIR holiday season. Your only industry is tourism and it’s failing: you’ve either got to get out of the business or work damned hard at it, 12 months of the year if necessary.
    But all this requires a complete rethink on transport, and – with some Scillonians, the council and the Duchy having their heads totally in the sand – that is not going to happen.
    *You talk of The Islands’ Partnership, well, here’s a more important partnership you need: how about seeing your visitors not as a nuisance but as partners in saving the economy of the islands, rather than as nuisances who have to be tolerated or milked of their money. After all, there are more of us (the visitors) than there are of you, and, dare I say, there is probably a much larger wealth of business and administrative acumen amongst your visitors, due to sheer numbers, than there is amongst the 2000 locals. I suggest you set up a formally constituted Scilly Advisory Panel made up equally of inhabitants and visitors. The nearest we come to this just now is this website!

  10. Scillyme August 25, 2015 at 8:12 am

    It’s started fish van on winter hours from 1st September and you want more people to come hear wake up Scilly is shuting down from next weekend again by the look of it

  11. Danny August 25, 2015 at 3:23 am

    You are joking right!! Make more affordable and tourist focussed and may stand a chance. Island accommodation prices completely out of kilter with reality and the rest of the sector.

  12. Paul Pocock August 24, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Reduce the costs of getting to Scilly…. then I would be back. Didnt go this year as it’s now too expensive to travel, even by boat. Would loved to have camped on Bryher or St Martins but even day trip isnt worth the cost especailly as most trips are only four hours a time. 🙁

  13. Pam and Mike Mynn. August 24, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    I’m all for extending the holiday season, but that’s got to have the support of cafe owners, and other service providers, to open earlier and stay open later in the year. Previous years we have often found places are closed by the middle of September. I’m sure more senior holidaymakers, like ourselves, want to come away outside the childrens school holiday weeks.

  14. HimIndoorsWalksSometimes August 24, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    I suggest more accommodation for single travellers. Trust me, there’s a requirement for it! 30-40% of the population are single & it’s tricky to find reasonable something to stay in that is just for one! Unless camping is an option but certainly not in the off-peak season! Just throwing that in there