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The Isles of Scilly’s latest official Visitor Survey (2018) has revealed a growing trend for short breaks to the islands, particularly in the shoulder months and by first-time visitors, whilst overall, 2018 saw an increase in first-time visitors, up 3% on the previous year. The results also highlighted that there continues to be a strong interest in visiting outside of the main season, with 68% that would consider visiting the islands between November and March.

The survey also found that, for the third year running, two thirds of visitors to the islands were aged 45+, including in 2018, a higher proportion of those in the 65+ bracket – a reflection of the ageing national population and increased holiday taking amongst the ‘empty nester’ and retired segments.

The Annual Visitor Survey has been conducted by the Islands’ Partnership for the last five years, enabling vital data to be gathered and providing invaluable visitor insight. These in turn, help the IP to shape the islands’ tourism plans by responding to visitor feedback and, ultimately, help to grow the visitor economy. Last year’s survey - the most comprehensive yet - attracted 2,310 responses.

Other findings highlight visitors’ growing desire to be able to book online. 50% of respondents would have preferred to do so had the option been available. This compares with the 28% of respondents who actually did book online. 72% of respondents suggested that online availability was very important, whilst 63% said a good website was also important. The survey also found that 65% of respondents use social media and, of those, 85% were regular users of Facebook. For the first time this year, respondents were more in tune with Instagram (25%) than they were with Twitter (23%).

In terms of how visitors found the information they were looking for, the visitislesofscilly.com website was by far the most popular source - used by 64% of staying visitors and an impressive 76% of first time visitors when planning and booking their visit to the Islands. In terms of what information sources respondents found most useful, the visitislesofscilly.com website was again the most popular, while a record proportion of visitors (21%) rated the Visit Isles of Scilly Guide (brochure) as the most useful.

Once again, the survey saw no significant change in the reasons that motivate visitors to come to Scilly. The islands’ natural beauty, the general atmosphere and sense of welcome all scored highest again in visitor satisfaction ratings, whilst the features and activities on the islands which visitors considered of highest importance to them were walking, rest & relaxation, island-hopping, the beaches, local food & drink and wildlife.

This appreciation of the islands’ outstanding natural environment was further evidenced by 61% of respondents who indicated that they would be willing to support a local Isles of Scilly environment fund which could help with measures to reduce the impact of visitors on the islands’ natural environment.

When asked what type of events would encourage them to visit Scilly, nature and wildlife events were most popular (59%), closely followed by food and drink festivals (58%) and walking festivals (46%) – all reinforcing the recommendations within Scilly’s Destination Management Plan for these attributes and experiences to play through more strongly in the destination brand. The lack of evening entertainment, grocery provision and the lack of choice and value of the local food and drink offer once again were both named as areas of improvement however.

The Tourist Information Centre (TIC) continues to be a highly valued asset on the islands, scoring exceptionally well in all aspects: 90% rated its quality of service excellent/good, and 91% rated it excellent/good for the usefulness of the information they received.

“The 2018 survey confirms the growing trend that we are seeing across the UK for shorter breaks and a desire for these shorter breaks later and earlier in the season. It is encouraging to note, that with September being a prominent month to visit the islands, and with twice as many visitors in the last quarter of the year as the first, that the Islands’ Partnership is leading the way with plans to help the islands extend the season as a whole – a key element of the Destination Management Plan,” says Islands’ Partnership Executive Director, David Jackson. “We are also encouraged by the early successes of our new online booking functionality on visitislesofscilly.com – supporting the strong desire amongst visitors to be able to view availability and to book their accommodation online. The overall performance of our new website is very strong, and the online functionality is proving invaluable in reaching out to new markets and attracting even more new visitors to the islands.”

The comprehensive Visitor Survey 2018 is available to view in members’ area - log into Members' Home and search in Under Surveys). Or feel free to call into the IP office to browse a copy.

The 2018 Visitor Survey was conducted by the Islands’ Partnership in association with The South West Research Company.

Upcoming Events

  • Tue
    22
    Oct
    2013
    9.30am-11.30pmChurch Hall, Church Street

    This will be first AGM since the IP was formed last year.  Wolf Rock, the Islands’ marketing consultants will also make a presentation of their approach to marketing the islands. The board will report on activities for the past year including the usual matters of finance and governance.  It will also be the first opportunity for members to elect their own representatives to the Board of Directors, with four of the current Directors retiring from office.  

  • Thu
    24
    Oct
    2013
    8pm - 9pmIn your own home!

    FREE and open to all: Claire Jarrett is well-known for her real-time, online seminars or "webinars". This one is designed to help small businesses learn how to set up a marketing campaign on Facebook, even if you are new to it, and how to how to build a fan base.  You'll need to register in advance on www.clairejarrett.com/facebookwebinar. There may be a bit of a hard sell for services at the end - because she offers the webinar for free - but you can just log out at that stage!  

  • Thu
    07
    Nov
    2013
    8:00 pmHeadland Hotel, Newquay

    The IP supported nine Scillonian businesses in their applications to the Cornwall Tourism Awards. Four made it to the finals - Hell Bay Hotel (Small Hotel of the Year), Juliet’s Garden Restaurant (Café and tearoom of the Year), The New Inn Tresco (Pub of the Year), and St Martin’s Dive School (Tourism Activity, Sport & Experience of the Year) - and we'll be wishing them lots of luck this evening when the overall winners are announced.

  • Thu
    14
    Nov
    2013
    10.00-13.00IP Office

    Strategy meeting

  • Thu
    21
    Nov
    2013
    11.30am-1.30pmTregarthen's Hotel, St Mary's

    Meeting and lunch for IP members to learn more about Get Set For Growth, a new initiative to help small businesses with finance, and marketing & sales.

  • Mon
    25
    Nov
    2013
    2.00-3.30pmIP Office

    Meeting to discuss Walk Scilly and the creation of more events to boost tourism calendar.  Any member wanting to be involved should contact the IP office.

  • Thu
    28
    Nov
    2013
    10.30am -12.30pmLife Long Learning Centre, Carn Gwaval

    Short practical training session to get you started on Twitter: creating an account, understanding how it works, using it as an effective marketing tool…

  • Wed
    11
    Dec
    2013
    10.30am - 2.00pmTregarthen's Hotel, St Mary's

    Informal gathering and networking opportunity for IP members.  Listen to short, informative presentations and business advice from invited guest speakers, including Robin Barker for Services for Tourism which managed the recent Cornwall Tourism Awards. 

  • Thu
    12
    Dec
    2013
    10.00 - 1.00pmIP Office

    Strategy Meeting

  • Mon
    23
    Dec
    2013
    12pm-3pmIP Office, Hugh Town

    Come and collect your copy of the Visit Isles of Scilly 2014 brochure, and chat with the IP directors and staff about the new look and branding.  We'll have a glass of wine and a mince pie waiting for you, too!

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