Actually this is a good time to start a new blog. Our financial year ended on 31st October and I am really pleased that the final figures for 2011 look very good indeed. This is in no small part to the hard work and commitment shown by the team here in the Channel Islands who continue to provide outstanding service to our clients. We operate in a very competitive market and understand that the key to success is delivering not just great holidays at competitive prices, but exceptional customer service. That is something we strive to achieve and it is always pleasing to read the feedback we receive that would seem to confirm this.
So now we look forward to a new year, with its own set of challenges. Despite the general economic picture, I remain optimistic for 2012. The Channel Islands are well positioned to benefit as we offer a wonderful range of island-based holidays and short breaks within an hour or so’s flying time from the UK – and no euro/£ exchange rates to worry about!
This is the quietest month of the year for sales (everyone is probably focused on Christmas shopping!). However that does not mean that there isn’t lots going on. The team are spending most of time on setting up systems etc. ready for 2012. We are finalising contracts with hotels and airlines, producing brochures and preparing our marketing campaigns ready for the post-Christmas surge in demand.
Yesterday we saw the Chancellor announced a double-inflation increase in Airline Passenger Duty (APD) from April next year. Full details of the changes in the tax will be announced next week. This tax, which was originally introduced to offset environmental damage caused by aircraft, has become just another government revenue stream and is making the UK uncompetitive as a tourism destination. We very much regret the Government’s decision as any increase will have an impact on consumers.
I was in Guernsey earlier this month, where the tourist office were reporting that visitor numbers from the UK were up by about 1.5% in 2011. That’s a very good achievement in such a challenging year and underlines the opportunity the Channel Islands has to benefit from the high cost of travelling further afield. Let’s hope the trend continues next year.
Finally – this time last year we were all struggling through the snow and ice whilst today it’s sunny & unseasonably warm. Is there such a thing as a ‘normal’ weather pattern any more?!