Wednesday 04 November 2015
Cruise passengers visiting the island this year provided a direct financial boost of nearly £4 million to Guernsey's economy according to independent research conducted this summer. And the value of the industry increases to more than £5 million when additional spend is taken into account, including visitors who return to Guernsey for a longer stay.
80% of passengers interviewed indicated that they would return for longer in the future, and most indicated they would recommend Guernsey to friends and relatives.
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.
The study was commissioned by the Commerce and Employment Department (C&E) and conducted by independent firm Island Global Research. 1,000 passengers were interviewed, responding on behalf of the group they came ashore with, therefore representing feedback of 2,500 passengers. A separate survey for local businesses was also conducted and nearly two thirds of respondents indicated that cruise visitors were important (26%) or very important (36%) to their company. 38% said the industry was not important.
82 businesses responded, representing a number of sectors including hospitality, tourism (attractions, guides etc.), retail, wholesale and transport providers. Almost all attracted some spending from tourist visitors and for a third of the responding businesses this amounted to more than half their sales during the period. Nearly three quarters reported that at least 20% of their turnover was directly from visitors.
For more than half the surveyed companies cruise passengers or crew accounted for more than 10% of visitor spending even though, on average, they were ashore for just half a day.
93% of passengers surveyed said they had spent money ashore - on average £32 each. 86% bought food and drink at £16 per person on average. Other popular purchases were souvenirs, bought by 38% of passengers, with 30% buying clothing. 11% said they had bought watches or jewellery.
The biggest financial boost was on general retail sales, estimated at more than £1.71 million, with food and drink sales only slightly lower at £1.68 million. Tour companies netted income of nearly £¼ million while visitor attractions received an estimated £160,000. 56% of passengers reported making some general retail purchases, spending on average £25 each.
All the passenger interviews took place between July and October. Approximately two thirds were from the UK, one in five from the USA and around 10% from mainland Europe. Their average age was in the mid-fifties.
C&E Minister Kevin Stewart said the survey results further demonstrated the value of cruise passengers to the Guernsey economy.
"C&E commissioned this independent research as we felt it was important for us to have an accurate understanding of the true level of direct financial contribution the cruise industry makes to the island's economy. Clearly £4 million direct spend is a significant amount and work is taking place to identify ways in which this figure can be increased for the 2016 season; as well as to strategically plan for the long term growth and development of the cruise business in Guernsey.
"The independent results reinforce what we have believed for a number of years - that cruise visitors are an integral part of our tourism economy. Having clear statistics which show this also demonstrates that retailers and service providers can be assured of visitor spend when they cater to this particular sector of the market."
Public Services Minister Scott Ogier said the survey results highlighted a number of positive aspects of Guernsey to visiting passengers.
"The cruise passengers surveyed indicated Guernsey is a vibrant port and highlighted, in particular, the appeal of the town's floral displays and the island's beauty with its friendly people and safe environment. Guernsey Harbours is proud of the part it has played in welcoming our cruise visitors; it has been a key element in such positive comments about our island and contributed to Guernsey being voted the leading cruise port in the UK and shows Guernsey is getting things right."
VisitGuernsey marketing and tourism director, Mike Hopkins, said the findings would help the island improve the cruise passenger experience and enable local businesses to seize the opportunities by tailoring their goods and services to this market.
"It has long been our view that the cruise market is important to our tourism economy and provides a welcome economic boost to the island as a whole. The fabulous experience we are offering our cruise visitors, as demonstrated by our 'Best UK Port of Call' award win and supported by the results of this survey, can only help to encourage them to return in the future for a longer break."
The full survey findings can be downloaded using this link