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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
    12
    Jan
    2016
    All dayIP office

    There will be no formal training for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter this year; instead if you want some top tips and ideas on how to get started or progress with social media, come and see Amy, Sam or Carolyn at the Islands' Partnership office. We don't know everything, but we'll do our best to answer your questions (and if we can't we'll endeavour to find out the answers for you!)

  • Tue
    26
    Jan
    2016
    10.15am - 12.15pmSteamship House
  • Tue
    26
    Jan
    2016
    Wed
    27
    Jan
    2016
    All dayLife Long Learning (next to Sports Hall)

    Design and build your own Wordpress website, with maximised SEO capability and essential plug ins. This training is being delivered by an external supplier and, depending on numbers, will cost in the region of £120 and £150 per person. A non-refundable £30 deposit will be required at the time of booking. We also recommend those attending to also turn up to the "writing for websites" training session on Thursday 3rd December. This is complimentary for IP members and complementary to J January's course (!).

  • Wed
    24
    Feb
    2016
    Thu
    25
    Feb
    2016
    Town Hall, St. Mary's

    Sarah Taylor is the IP contact for this event.simply scilly logo 2015

  • Fri
    04
    Mar
    2016
    Sun
    06
    Mar
    2016
    All dayAcross Scilly

    A pre-season clean and tidy up and beach cleans across the islands

    The date has been been changed this year to coincide with "Clean for the Queen" campaign, being coordinated by Keep Britain Tidy in honour of the Queen's 90th birthday. (It was originally arranged for the weekend before Easter)

  • Mon
    07
    Mar
    2016
    Fri
    11
    Mar
    2016
    Porthmellon Enterprise Centre

  • Sat
    09
    Apr
    2016
    Fri
    15
    Apr
    2016
    All dayAcross the Islands

    A feast of walks across Scilly, and evening entertainment, to kick start the season. Now in its 11th year.

  • Thu
    14
    Apr
    2016
    10.15am - 12.15pmSteamship House
  • Sun
    01
    May
    2016
    Tue
    31
    May
    2016
    Across Scilly

    A month-long celebration of arts and culture on the Isles of Scilly

  • Mon
    09
    May
    2016
  • Wed
    11
    May
    2016
    10am - 4pmEden Project, Cornwall

    David, Carolyn and Amy will be there representing the IP and building relationships with potential suppliers and partners to businesses on Scilly

  • Thu
    12
    May
    2016
    7:00 pmSt Mellion
  • Mon
    16
    May
    2016
    7:30 pmPorthmellon Enterprise Centre, St Mary's
  • Tue
    17
    May
    2016
    11am-6pmWeslyan Chapel - TBC
  • Tue
    17
    May
    2016
    Thu
    19
    May
    2016
    From 5.30pmAll islands

    BRYHER Community Centre 5.30pm Tues 17th
    ST AGNES Island Hall 8pm Tues 17th
    TRESCO Community Centre 5.30pm Thurs 19th
    ST MARTIN'S Reading Room, Community Centre Thurs 19th

  • Wed
    18
    May
    2016
    6pm - 8pmSt Mary's - Steamship House
  • Tue
    24
    May
    2016
    10am - 4pmIP Office

    Come by and have a chat about how you can improve your business listing / advertising on the Visit Isles of Scilly website and make good use of the new live search by availability.

  • Thu
    26
    May
    2016
    10am - 4pmIP office

    Come by and have a chat about how you can improve your business listing / advertising on the Visit Isles of Scilly website and make good use of the new live search by availability.

  • Sat
    18
    Jun
    2016

    100 teams of two swim and run across all the islands in one day.... a world cup qualifier!

  • Thu
    28
    Jul
    2016
    10am-12noonIP office - Steamship boardroom
  • Fri
    26
    Aug
    2016
    Mon
    29
    Aug
    2016
    St Mary's

    Scilly's inaugural maritime jamboree - tall ships, sailing regatta, music and laughter and more!

  • Thu
    01
    Sep
    2016
    Fri
    30
    Sep
    2016
  • Fri
    30
    Sep
    2016
    10am - 12 noonMincarlo Guesthouse
  • Wed
    12
    Oct
    2016
    10am - 3pmLifelong Learning Centre, St Mary's

    A day's event hosted by Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth Hub. For all businesses - start-ups, young businesses looking to grow and large businesses seeking to expand.  Meet the professionals who can give you expert advice and help source financial aid. Not to be missed - it's free and lunch is included.

  • Wed
    12
    Oct
    2016
    6pm - 8pmSteamship House
  • Thu
    13
    Oct
    2016
    Mon
    17
    Oct
    2016
    Across the islands
  • Thu
    13
    Oct
    2016
    11.00am - 1.00pmChurch Hall, St. Mary's TBC
  • Thu
    08
    Dec
    2016
    10am - 12 noonLifelong Learning Centre, St Mary's
  • Fri
    23
    Dec
    2016
    5pm - 7pm TBCHugh Town
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