A film about the Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society reveals the appeal of ‘set jetting’. Mike Hopkins at VisitGuernsey explains how the movie helped its marketing

Q The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society has been a big boost for the island’s tourism. How has VisitGuernsey capitalised on this film release? A We have been working on this for many years and already capitalised on the book, which was an international bestseller. In the last six months, our marketing campaign

focused on the key elements of the island portrayed in the film: the friendliness of the people and the occupation during the Second World War. We’ve had third-party promotions with the likes of WHSmith, Nectar and Oddbins; developed campaigns with tour operators and transport partners; agent and press trips; and film-themed advertising campaigns.

Q Have you liaised with other destinations featured in films? A We visited Games of Thrones locations in Northern Ireland and discussed the phenomenal impact of this successful series. VisitScotland benefited from the 2015 film adaptation of Macbeth which boosted numbers to Skye, and Cornwall saw a 12% uplift thanks to Poldark.

Q How much has been spent on promoting the island, using the film as the hook? A We secured an additional £330,000 for this purpose, which was invested in media, joint promotions with partners, web development and social media.

Q How have attractions, museums, hotels and businesses on the island helped? A The Guernsey Museum is holding a special exhibition focusing on Guernsey’s ‘Occupation and Liberation’ story, featuring memorabilia and various editions of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie book. Cycle and walking tours and routes through

locations featured in the novel and referenced in the film are first-hand ways to re-live the story.

Beverley Scarr, short-haul general manager

at Premier Holidays, saw significant interest in Guernsey following the release of the film – with sales up in April and likely to continue into May.

Q How will you build on the legacy of the film’s publicity? A We are now working on capitalising upon the film’s release in Europe, the US, and other international locations. We will then have the home entertainment release in the autumn which will give us another opportunity to spread the word. The cruise market is extremely important for Guernsey and again we are using the film and story during the cruise liner calls to Guernsey to help generate interest in visiting the island for longer breaks.

Q Are there any other films and books set on Guernsey? A Historian Duncan Barrett recently published Hitler’s British Isles and we have worked with him to bring the history of Guernsey to life. The French author and poet Victor Hugo spent 15 years in exile in Guernsey from 1855 and the island provided the inspiration for many of his well-known works including Les Misérables and Toilers of the Sea. Visitors can still explore Hugo’s life on

Guernsey at events and exhibitions across the island, including ‘Hugo – Visions in Exile’ at Guernsey Museum this summer. His house, Hauteville House, will re-open next year and we look forward to welcoming visitors who wish to experience how Hugo lived.

Q What have tour operators been doing? A We held trade seminars to ensure the industry could see the opportunities the film’s release presented. We worked with tour operators to develop packages and itineraries with a film theme. For example, with departures in August,

September and October, Airways Holidays is offering three-night packages that include a guided coach tour to visit places that feature in the book and film. Premier Holidays has a seven- night Guernsey discovery break, which includes a half-day island tour of locations featured in the film. Travelsmith is offering a three-night package that also has a half-day film-themed tour. Walking is a popular activity for visitors to

Guernsey so we are promoting our Autumn Walking festival (September 15-30) and walking tours highlighting occupation stories and points of interest. There is a downloadable audio guide and map on the VisitGuernsey website featuring a Potato Peel Pie – Occupation Walk.

Q Have you seen a boost in bookings? A Our trade and industry partners are already seeing bookings as a result of the film and we hope and forecast that visitor numbers will increase somewhere in the region of 6% to 9% over the next two years. C. I. Travel Group reported a 55% year-on-year

increase in bookings to Guernsey in April, and Opodo said Guernsey is its sixth biggest growth destination for the early May Bank Holiday weekend, with a 155% year-on-year increase in passenger growth. Aurigny, our local airline, says it has seen a boost in bookings.

Q What has been the reaction from travel agents who visited the island? A The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, and agents are actively supporting the promotion of the island.

Courtesy of StudioCanal S.A.S

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