Almost A Third Of Last Year’s Visitors Were On First Trip To Scilly

busy hugh street with visitors30% of visitors to Scilly in 2015 were on their first trip to the islands. And both day visitors and staying tourists are spending more, compared to last year.

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 with a further 36% using the Isles of Scilly brochure.

34% regarded the 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 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.

3 Responses to Almost A Third Of Last Year’s Visitors Were On First Trip To Scilly

  1. Jeff Eastick May 12, 2016 at 11:50 am

    As with previous ‘visitor surveys’ , the results you obtain will depend on what month(s) you choose to focus on. August will provide different results than June/July because of the change in visitor demographics. To obtain results that have some true value , this survey should take place from April through till September.
    We have visited for nearly 50 years , mainly in July latterly , and have never filled in such a survey and we regularly see many people who are repeat visitors year after year.

  2. John Kelly (long-time St Martin's regular, market researcher since late 60s May 11, 2016 at 10:10 am

    As an experienced market researcher I would find it difficult to know how to interpret the ‘results’ of this survey.

    It depends upon the sampling regime.

    If it was a ‘scientifically’ designed sample approach to ensure that all sections of the visitor population were covered in their correct proportion (but this assumes that these proportions are known), then the data presented are probably supportable.

    If the data were collected using a self-selecting self-completion survey, it is difficult to know what to do with the data as it would not be sensible to compare it to previous years where it is likely a different sample of visitors may well have answered.

    Also, it would not be sensible to present the data as representing all visitors to Scilly – by its very nature it would not.

    Self-selecting samples suffer from many problems and more often than not, those who do not respond can be as, if not more, important as those who do. Also, it could be argued that ‘first timers’ would be more likely to respond.

    In many cases, wrong or misleading or misinterpreted data are more dangerous than no data!

  3. Adam Morton, St.Martins May 10, 2016 at 10:16 am

    18000 cruise ship visitors wouldn’t be classed as first time visitors would they? bear in mind that at least one hotel was shut in 2014 so naturally short stayers would be down that year.