Getting ready for the start of a new season on Scilly…
March signals the start of the season for us. It’s an exciting time of year, when we welcome new visitors and old friends to the islands. It’s such a joy for our team to see everyone looking excitedly through the aircraft windows, as the white-sand beaches of Scilly appear in view; or to watch from the deck of the Scillonian III, as children spot a pod of dolphins for the first time.
Last summer, the number of people visiting the Isles of Scilly grew by more than 4%. Our aim is to ensure that we maintain this positive momentum in 2015. One of the big changes we’ve made is increasing the number of flights we offer. In fact, this year we will be operating our largest ever flight programme to and from the islands. So if you’d like to be transported to the Isles of Scilly, there’s never been an easier time to book.
The Isles of Scilly are a million miles from ordinary and we strive to make the journey an integral part of that experience. We have made a series of significant upgrades to our transport and facilities in recent years. Our passenger ferry, the Scillonian III, has had a £2m refit, which we will continue to improve upon each year. In 2014, we hardened the runways at Land’s End Airport – a project that was half funded by the European Union ERDF. This has dramatically improved our ability to run a reliable year-round service.
2014 also saw the arrival of our new CEO, Robert Goldsmith. Robert brings with him over 23 years of experience in a variety of commercial and senior management roles, at seven airports in the UK and Australia. We caught up with Robert to find out about his plans for our company in 2015…
Hi Robert, could you please tell us a little bit about your background?
I have spent over 23 years in the travel and tourism industry. I have also worked closely with a number of tourism development organisations in the UK and abroad. I hope to use this experience to stimulate the visitor market to the Isles of Scilly.
How long have you been with Isles of Scilly Travel and what does your role entail?
I joined Isles of Scilly Travel as Chief Executive Officer in February 2014 – so I’m approaching the end of my first year. The role covers the strategic management of our group of small companies. This includes a diverse range of activities, but most importantly providing a lifeline, year-round passenger and freight service to the Isles of Scilly. Our service includes passenger and freight ships, Skybus, Land’s End Airport, Penzance Dry Dock and an island-based engineering business called Nike.
What is your vision for the business in 2015?
Isles of Scilly Travel has a proud heritage as an independent commercial business, stretching back nearly 100 years. Our principle aim is to serve the transport needs of the residents of Isles of Scilly and the visitor market that provides the lifeblood of the economy on the islands.
Approximately 85% of the economy on Scilly relates directly or indirectly to tourism, so we take our responsibility to provide resilient and reliable transport very seriously. We will continue to do whatever we can to stimulate the travel market to Scilly in a measured and sustainable way, building on the recent upturn in visitor numbers. This will help to ensure that we are able to continue investing in the renewal and upgrading of our transport assets, as we have done in the past.
Would you like to be transported to the Isles of Scilly this summer? We look forward to welcoming you aboard very soon!