Almost A Third Of Last Year’s Visitors Were On First Trip To Scilly
These are some of the findings from the Annual Visitor Survey organised by the Islands’ Partnership. Last year’s results have just been released.
The tourism body claims that this is their most comprehensive questionnaire ever, with 2,000 visitors responding, compared to around 710 in 2013.
Just under a third of visitors in 2015 were new to the islands and of these, 45% came for a short break of between 2 and 4 days. This is an increase of 4% in first time visitors compared with 2014.
The vast majority of those visiting Scilly last year came for the scenery and 87% sought peace and quiet. 70% were inspired by our beaches and 58% our wildlife.
Once again, the majority of holidaymakers are from the immediate region or the London area – 40% came from the Westcountry and 23% travelled from the South East.
Peak months for visitors to the islands were June, July and August for longer holidays of 8 or more days, whilst May and September were most popular for short breaks.
41% of respondents booked online with their accommodation provider and 33% booked by telephone.
The Islands’ Partnership is flagging up the popularity of their website. 62% of respondents used visitislesofscilly.com with a further 36% using the Isles of Scilly brochure.
34% regarded the visitislesofscilly.com website to have been the most useful source of information – up by 10% on 2014.
Use of social media, in particular Facebook, increased significantly in 2015 – from 59% to 83% in just one year.
The IP say this is interesting given the age range of respondents – two thirds of visitors to the islands were aged 45 years or over.
The features and activities on the islands that visitors considered of highest importance to them were walking, rest & relaxation, island hopping, beaches, wildlife, local plants and gardens, and eating out.
Indeed, 63% of visitors said a food and drink festival would encourage them to visit, with walking festivals, music events and maritime festivals also considered a draw.
Other statistics revealed by the survey found that 38% of first time visitors were initially prompted to come to Scilly by a personal recommendation, followed by visiting visitislesofscilly.com and seeing Scilly featured on TV.
A massive 97% of visitors rated their holiday as good or excellent.
The islands scored lowest for the quality (58% good or excellent) and range (53%) of evening entertainment, as well as value for money of places to eat and drink, and the quality and range of grocery provision shops.
Average spend per person per day on the islands (excluding accommodation) was £49.30 (compared with £44.88 in 2014) and ranging from £48.35 for staying visitors to £54.26 for those visiting Scilly for the day.
30% of visitors said it was important that they arrived on the islands on a Saturday, whilst 21% said the same for a Thursday and 20% for a Friday. The largest proportion of respondents overall said that they could be flexible, however.