The Guernsey Retail Group has come out in full support of the proposed extension of Guernsey Airport’s runway in order to boost visitor numbers and tourism spend on-Island.
The move follows Deputy Simon Vermeulen’s recent amendment which would see the runway lengthened to 1,623 metres and the States is due to debate this at its sitting this week. The Guernsey Retail Group (GRG), which represents the sector locally, believes the longer runway will be key to addressing visitor arrival figures which have not shown a recovery to pre-Covid levels.
Korinne Le Page, Head of Retail Development at the GRG said: “2023 was supposed to be a recovery year for tourism but the figures for May and June show a significant drop of around 20% compared with 2019. This large fall in visitors to the Island has negatively influenced the revenues seen by some High Street retailers.
“We have not seen any strategy produced to date by any of the stakeholders to rectify this, so wholeheartedly support the amendment proposed by Deputy Vermeulen to extend the runway and prioritise the introduction of a EMAS (an Engineered Material Arresting System) system.
“Our belief is that Guernsey needs to be accessible to bigger, industry standard aircraft which operate from larger populations across the UK and continental Europe. Over time, this could significantly increase arrivals to the Island and benefit many businesses including those in the retail sector.”