1. ITV Report

Boost for Isles of Scilly tourism

Boost for Isles of Scilly tourism Photo: ITV News West Country

There was some welcome news for the Isles of Scilly today - as a multi-million pound scheme to improve the runway at Land's End and upgrade facilities at St Mary's airports was finally given the go-ahead. It's hoped the improvements will help the islands tackle a worrying decline in tourism - which some travel experts blame on high prices.

"I've had a fantastic holiday in the Scillies but I wouldn't rush back there because there's so many other great island destinations in Britain and elsewhere which offer fabulous things at a more affordable price."

– Simon Calder,Travel writer and broadcaster

Mr.Calder said it was too costly to get to islands,particularly by air. Last year it was assumed 108,000 people would fly to St.Mary's but the actual figure was 90,000, 17% below the estimate. And fares have gone up this year.

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company runs both the sea ferry and air routes to the islands.

"It will never be the easiest and cheapest place to get to compared with destinations on the mainland but it is as I say special which is why it attracts so many visitors and certainly this year we are not seeing price as an issue."

– Rob Goldsmith, Isles of Scilly Steamship Co.

Mr.Calder also says the islands need to do more to attract visitors during off peak months. Hoteliers on the islands say major changes are being made.

"The islands have certainly identified that there demands for the modern customer and obviously we are doing our level best to try to address those to improve the transport and to improve the delivery of service on the island are a number of weaknesses.They've identified that perhaps there are some degrees of complacency have existed within our industry in the past. We do understand that there are changes."

– James Francis, Hotelier

The challenge for the islands is to convince doubters that it's moving with the times in an ever demanding industry.

You can watch Steve Hardy's report on this below: