(1:00 p.m. GMT) — The Guernsey Tourist Board is expecting a 7-8% increase in passenger numbers next year — outstripping the 123,000 passengers which visited this year.
A total of 105 forward bookings have been recorded so far for cruises to tender on Guernsey for 2016, with a further 17 to visit sister islands of Sark, Alderney, and Herm. These numbers are being boosted by the inaugural visits of several ships including Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic – on its first British Isles cruise – and Oceania Cruise’s newest acquisition, Sirena.
The news comes soon after scooping Cruise Critic’s Editor’s Pick Award for Best UK & British Isles Port of Call.
Mike Hopkins, director of marketing and tourism at States of Guernsey said: “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. [These increased figures] we’re seeing are the outcome of five years work and planning.”
Hopkins added he hoped cruise ship passengers would be inspired to return for a longer break.
This year Guernsey moved the tender arrivals area to a new pier, upgrading the facilities and putting in a dedicated arrivals team to welcome passengers.
The forecasted growth in Guernsey’s cruise market continues the trend of recent years, which has seen a surge of 81 percent between 2012-15. Ships tendered in the capital grew from 62 to 101 over this period, while the number of cruise passengers going ashore saw 25 percent growth from 105,000 in 2014 to close to 123,000 in 2015. An independent survey also indicated that 80 percent of disembarking passengers said they are likely to return, while Guernsey tourism received a general scoring of 4.9/5.