2023 Island Games helps Guernsey visitor levels bounce back to pre-pandemic levels

More than 2,000 athletes from 24 island nations competed in the Guernsey games during July 2023. Credit: ITV Channel

The 2023 NatWest International Island Games helped visitor levels in Guernsey bounce back to pre-COVID levels for the first time since the pandemic started.

According to the government's tourism report for the third quarter - covering July, August and September 2023 - 7,680 people gave their reason for visiting the island as 'Other' - the category which was used for sports.

This was an increase of 34% when compared to the same period in 2019.

However, despite the boost the competition provided, the overall number visiting for Leisure, Business/Work, Seeing friends and Long Stay purposes, is down by almost a fifth (19%) compared to four years ago.

Hannah Beacom of the Tourism Management Board and says they're introducing sporting events organisers to travel agents to boost tourism. Credit: ITV News

Hannah Beacom, Chair of the Tourism Management Board believes other sporting events could boost the island's tourism even further: "We're introducing sporting events organisers to travel agents so that packages can be set up around them.

"I'm aware of at least three international events that are looking to bring teams in from across the world."

The report also suggests there were 1,902 available spaces in Guernsey for tourists to use during the third quarter, but occupancy levels only reached 82% in July, 75% in August and 73% in September.

The average length of a hotel stay during the period was 4.7 nights.

While the Games took place in the peak summer season, it's hoped other events will bring people to the Bailiwick during the autumn and winter months - like the Renoir exhibition currently running until Sunday 17 December.

Russ Fossey from Guernsey Arts says better cohesion is the key: "Certainly the festivals are untapped assets that if we can coordinate more with Visit Guernsey, with the Tourism Management Board, I think we can absolutely look at those events to attract more and more visitors."

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