Could Guernsey be a leading sustainable tourism destination?
A sold-out event put on by the Chamber of Commerce group, Sustainable Business Initiative (SBI) gathered politicians and businesses to explore the opportunities of sustainable tourism in Guernsey. Speakers presented different approaches to how Guernsey could promote its already considerable offerings that are attractive for those visitors considering a sustainable tourism destination. They also discussed what more could be done to better develop Guernsey’s offering in many areas.
The general conclusion was that there is huge potential for Guernsey to be a sustainable tourism destination if the marketing strategy were built around it, and some key investments were made. This would take advantage of Guernsey’s unique selling points, such as the amazing natural landscape and potential for even more outdoor activities, great local food and drink, and proximity to key markets.
Deputy Neil Inder opened the event, noting the good timing of it because the Committee for Economic is currently working on its Visitor Economy strategy.
Speaker Mel Kite shared her experience working in Australia on the Melbourne and regional Victoria tourism strategy, recalling that tourism in Melbourne started with a natural offering provided by a small island off the coast, Phillip Island. Very similar to Guernsey, Phillip Island’s tourism strengths included the natural environment, farming heritage plus a strong local food and drink offering. From this humble island beginning, the visitor economy was launched and 20 years on the strategy has delivered great sustainable results and an impressive tourism offering. Key to Victoria’s successful 300% increase in visitors over 24 years was strategic vision, clarity of target market, creative marketing campaigns reflecting authenticity and honesty and leadership to support the process.
The recent ramping up of UK media coverage for climate change action, in addition to recent research relating to Post-Covid travel intentions, indicate the environment is a weighing concern for many. Seeking expert advice is key to understanding future destination target markets and also how to manage destinations in light of climate change goals.
Mel mentioned, ‘As tourists increasingly look to minimise their own carbon footprint, Guernsey has the opportunity to tap into this growing market while maximising its meaningful “tourism experience”. Sustainable tourism will also help Guernsey to meet its own net zero carbon emissions targets. However, to have the best outcome, everyone needs to be on board with sustainability, including businesses, visitors and locals.’
Mel suggested climate pledges could be actioned and sustainable journeys embraced, by adopting a “Sustainable Swaps” mindset. The simplest way to understand this would be to swap from an imported, plastic wrapped ice cream product, such as a Magnum, to a local product – the Guernsey Dairy cone. Buying local means no waste, no carbon import plus it supports a community business and the profits benefit the Island rather than big brands.
The next speaker, Gill Mabbett, Director of Sales for the Red Carnation Hotel Collection set out the sustainability measures the hotel group have implemented and its future goals. Red Carnation is a family owned, family run business with 18 properties in 8 locations. Sustainability has always been a priority for the Tollman family owners. On Earth Day, as part of the Travel Corporation, they announced their Climate Action Plan, aiming for carbon neutrality by 2030.
Gill outlined some of the many measures they have put in place in Guernsey to meet this target. Behind the scenes, they are using a carbon reporting software, Accuvio to report on consumption in order to decrease their carbon footprint. This provides monthly information on everything from gas and electricity consumption to our air conditioners and refrigeration. All lights have been replaced with LED bulbs (a 90% savings in lighting energy) given the Regency room itself has 262 lightbulbs. They use Winnow Solutions’ AI technology in their kitchens to help track food waste and ensure that they are not over producing or over purchasing. They are the first global hotel brand to adopt ACT Clean Coat, a cleaning method using electro technology, eliminating the use of harsh chemicals.
Red Carnation aim to eliminate all single-use plastics by 2022. To date they have removed 48 instances from hotels, including water bottles, single portions of food, shower caps, laundry bags and packaging for items such as cotton buds and cake boxes.
In the restaurants, clients can have food and beverage experiences focused on “field or sea to plate” where guests can enjoy a variety of experiential tours and tastings of fine, local produce whilst also being able to see and taste the same local ingredients on menus. Excess baked goods are sold in their own hedge veg stall with proceeds going to the GSPCA.
Gill said “We’re always looking at ways of educating our guests, making travel matter, and are committed to helping our natural and cultural heritage sourcing and sharing as much local produce as possible from our gorgeous Guernsey butter to incredibly moreish gin.”
Rollo de Sausmarez, co-lead of the Sustainable Business Initiative (SBI), spoke next to outline many of the successful sustainability initiatives already evident in Guernsey, and the opportunities to join the dots to create a very compelling sustainable visitor package. Government policies underpin a sustainability approach with our commitment to net zero by 2050, energy and nature policies. We also have world class local food and drink offerings. There are opportunities to embrace the challenges of net zero with our transport and lodgings, as shown by the Red Carnation Hotels initiatives.
Rollo said “We could develop a better sustainability-focused visitor experience, highlighting its authenticity and celebrating the engagement with nature. But many of these projects such as improving the biking infrastructure and allowing beach kiosks to experiment with new sustainable ideas will also benefit islanders who seek to live more sustainably. Engaging the community would come up with some great initiatives, and SBI would love to facilitate these discussions.”
The Sustainable Business Initiative run frequenteventsto provide practical insight and training to help local businesses mitigate their climate impact at the Chamber of Commerce contact firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com more information.
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For more information about SBI and future events, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org/ 07712 278306
About Sustainable Business Initiative (SBI)
SBI is a Guernsey Chamber of Commerce initiative, whose purpose is to help Guernsey businesses become more sustainable. Its co-leads are Jennifer Strachan (IAM Advisory, NED) and Rollo de Sausmarez (Healthspan), and its members include Alex Herschel (Guernsey Electricity), Ian Corder (ESI Monitor), Andy Sloan (Guernsey Finance), Kay Davidson (ASKay Style), Rupert Dorey (Non-Executive Director), Jon Buckland (Unleashing Potential), David Falla (Architecture), Justin Sykes (Innovest Advisory), Julie-Anne Headington (CI Adjusters), James Dugiud (Aztec Group) Fran Browning (Guernsey Recycling Group), Helen Quin (Clean Earth Trust), with support from the Guernsey Chamber team.
To learn more about the Sustainability Champions Programme, please email email@example.com SBI.firstname.lastname@example.org
Deputy Neil Inder welcoming guests
Speaker Mel Kite discussing her experience in sustainable tourism to a packed audience