11 January 2017
Guernsey’s cruise passenger numbers growth has yet again been positive in 2016, with an
increase of 8%, reflecting the benefits being accrued by the continued investment and increased resource deployed to support this growing sector.
The latest Cruise Passenger Survey conducted on behalf of Economic Development, reports the 8% growth that equates to 132,949 passengers disembarking from their ships to visit Guernsey, compared to 122,700 disembarking in 2015. This represents an incredibly positive 77% share of total possible cruise passengers spending time ashore.
This increase in passengers coming ashore has helped to generate a 7% increase in cruise passenger spend to nearly £ 4.2 million, compared to £3.9 million 2015.
The UK is still the main source market for cruise visitors to Guernsey but there has been growth from the USA and Canada. The 2016 report does show however that the demographic is shifting with 64% aged over 60 as opposed to 55% aged over 60 in 2015.
The survey findings show that more is being spent on retail goods. In fact a significantly high 71% of passengers spent on retail items whilst ashore and Candie Gardens and Castle Cornet are reported to be two of the most popular visitor attractions. The addition of the Le Petit Train has also been positively received and enjoyed by our cruise visitors.
The increase in retail spend is reflected by the growth of on-island businesses that believe the cruise market is crucial to the business mix of Guernsey. 77% of businesses considered the cruise liner market as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ as compared to 67% in 2015. Most activities undertaken whilst on the island have seen an increase including taking a pre planned tour, visiting an attraction, shopping and general browsing.
Part of the strategy to support and develop the cruise market stems from the recognition that this channel offers strong opportunities for converting cruise passengers to repeat visitors and this is borne out in the final 2016 figures. An overwhelming 94% of disembarking passengers state that they would be likely to visit Guernsey again (an increase of 12% on 2015) with very high satisfaction ratings given to local facilities and services as well as restaurants, cleanliness, security and safety which plays an increasing importance for cruise passengers. In addition it is clear that passengers are acting as a marketing channel to help promote Guernsey. There was a 10% increase to 62% in the very highest rating category in terms of recommending the island to friends and relatives.
Deputy Jennifer Merrett – Member Committee for Economic Development said: ‘The cruise market continues to be a vital and growing part of Guernsey’s tourism business. VisitGuernsey has worked closely with Guernsey Harbours and many other important stakeholders in recent years to ensure the visitor experience is maximised. We are delighted that 2016 represents a sixth year of growth and look forward to further growth in 2017.’