Wednesday 07 October 2015
A national award from a leading cruise industry website has helped raise the island's profile in this growing market and build on what has been a record year for visitor numbers.
Guernsey Harbours director Sarah McGreevy said being named Best UK Port of Call was something the whole island could be proud of.
"We are absolutely delighted with this accolade. It is recognition of the efforts of everyone who has been involved in creating a great experience for visitors, and highlights just what a great place the island is to come to. We can all be proud of this achievement and Guernsey Harbours is really proud to have played a part."
2015 has been a record year for cruise visitors, with nearly 123,000 coming ashore since the season began in March. The total eclipses the previous record of 113,380, seen in 2013, and is almost 20% up on last year's total of 105,419.
And it comes despite the relatively poor weather between June and August, which are normally expected to be the peak season. These three months saw eleven visits cancelled, included two scheduled stop-offs by the Ventura and another by Royal Princess, both of which carry more than 3500 passengers.
Mrs McGreevy said the growth was the result of a lot of hard work over many years. Although 2015 had been particularly challenging, she hoped islanders would start to see the benefits.
"So much work has gone on behind the scenes over the years through VisitGuernsey and Guernsey Harbours to build up the cruise business, and we are seeing the fruits of that. This year has been a challenging one, with the changes we have had to make to the landing arrangements to deal with the growth we've seen in visitors.
"We know it hasn't been popular at times, and we appreciate why. However we hope this accolade goes some way to demonstrating what has been achieved."
Public Services Minister, Deputy Scott Ogier, said one of the drivers for relocating the cruise operations to the Albert Pier was to improve the visitor experience.
"The award is based on the experience of passengers who have come here, which is what makes it such an achievement. As islanders we are rightfully proud of our beautiful seafront and harbour, but sometimes we might not realise how fabulous that is for visitors.
"They step off a tender straight into the heart of St Peter Port, with busy marinas on either side, our historic church straight ahead, and the waterfront cafes and bars overlooking the harbour. That is a wonderful first impression to give someone."
"There is a real community effort that goes into making Town such a vibrant and attractive place. That is down to a lot of hard work by the Douzaine and Constables, Floral St Peter Port, Culture & Leisure, the Environment Department, Town Centre Partnership, and the various organisers of the Seafront Sunday and other events. They must all feel very proud of this award."