CT Consults

Isles of Scilly – a destination management plan for the edge of England

Old style, masted wooden sail boat on sea, with green landscape behind. A destination management plan for the Isles of Scilly

The challenge

The Isles of Scilly has a population of just 2,500, but when two cruise ships drop anchor its main high street can be busier than any street in Britain. A highly seasonal offer, it is further limited by access – by boat or air to jump the 28 miles from the Cornish peninsula. Its offer bears many of the hallmarks of a Cornwall destination, except it takes longer to get there, and typically costs more to visit. Each island has its own offer and identity, and as such the quality of experience, length of season and product development varies greatly. The DMO set itself the task of creating one coherent brand and offer – and following a professionalisation of destination management, the next stage was to develop a clear destination management plan that all islanders (80% work in tourism in some way) can actively support.

Our response

In partnership with Yellow Railroad Consulting, and with plenty of island-hopping to fully understand the subtly diverse offer across the archipelago, we developed the islands’ first comprehensive destination management plan – targeting a step change based on value and not just volume for its established and emerging domestic and international markets. The final Plan set out a strong case for change with a new direction for how the visitor economy of the islands could be developed to sustain the islands’ natural, cultural and visitor economy.

Kickstarting a new approach

Areas of potential were identified and prioritised – smart and environmental tourism, the premium offer, the role of culture, wellness and health offer, and as a distinctive seafood destination. The Plan was launched in 2018 and the DMO set about implementing its detailed action plan immediately – focusing on leadership and integrated planning, transport, staff housing, visitor accommodation, environment, improving the product and service offer, celebrating culture and heritage in the offer, skills development, booking and technology, extending the season, and business efficiency.

Fishing boat anchored off a rocky shore, with lighthouse in the distance.
Securing the future of the islands' visitor economy, the Destination Management Plan sets out a clear case for the role of heritage, arts and culture”

The Islands Partnership

Creative Islands

In 2017, following a successful bid to Arts Council England, the Islands’ Partnership was selected to become one of 30 national Cultural Destinations projects, supporting the visitor economy by forging links between the culture and tourism sectors. Projects included Creative Scilly Festival, Walking Stories and Artist Residencies.

A new museum

A feasibility study brief has been issued for a new museum proposal.

The Island Makers

New website in response to Covid-19 promoting over 25 artists and makers on the Isles of Scilly.

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