It’s been an unusual summer – and I am not just talking about the weather! It seems the UK has been basking in patriotic fervour since the Jubilee in June. Today sees the start of the Paralympics which look set to match the Olympic Games for both excitement and enjoyment. Everyone I speak to about the Olympics says the same thing – they did not believe that they would become so caught up in the games. Team GB produced an outstanding result and gave the country a much needed lift from the general air of doom and gloom that seems to surround us these days. And we have our own gold-painted post box in Sark, as dressage gold medallist Carl Hester was brought up in the island.
The talk in our industry has been about the impact the events of the summer have had on businesses. As always it is a mixed picture, but for the domestic market I believe it has been a pretty challenging year – primarily due to the worst summer weather for 100 years. Mediterranean tour operators have fared better – especially post-Olympics as many Brits seek to escape and enjoy some warm sunshine.
The Channel Islands have fared better perhaps than the rest of the UK – although for the year to date visitor numbers are down on last year from the UK. Thankfully our European markets have performed better with Germany, Austria & Switzerland all recording increased numbers. Since our business operates in all of these markets, we will emerge at the end of summer with a good result overall.
Now we are deep into planning for 2013 – looking at our options for charter flights and considering new product development. Next year should be a more ‘normal’ year (if there is such a thing!) with no special events taking place in the UK. We just hope next summer provides us with more warmth and sunshine.
The autumn months in Jersey & Guernsey are always popular times for visitors, with plenty going on including the Air Displays in September and the Tennerfest restaurant promotion in October. We are therefore looking forward to a busy end to 2012.
For me personally, September holds its own challenge. I am taking part in a charity cycle ride from London to Paris in aid of the Stroke Association. Over 100 cyclists from Jersey are going to be cycling 320 miles in 4 days – quite a challenge for me at least! If you want to sponsor me, you can donate online at https://www.justgiving.com/Robert-Mackenzie2012 .