Warning tourism jobs may go in Sark

Vineyards in Sark
Image caption No job cuts are planned for the part of the company that deal with its vineyards

Sark's largest employer has warned it may make most of its workforce redundant in September.

Sark Estate Managements, which runs most of the island's big hotels, said it could cut staffing from 110, or 50 in the low season, to about 25.

Manager Kevin Delaney said the decision was due to a lack of growth in the island's tourism industry.

He said with no moves from government to encourage a growth in tourism the business had to cut it costs.

Mr Delaney said he was disappointed in the lack of progress in plans to create a customs area in Sark to allow direct travel to the island from France.

'Substantial redundancies'

Currently, anyone visiting the island has to clear customs in Guernsey.

Mr Delaney said it would "transform Sark's tourist industry" by opening up a "market of eight million people in Brittany and Normandy alone".

He said: "In the absence of that arriving we will see very substantial redundancies as soon as this season comes to an end, probably mid September."

Image caption Kevin Delaney said they would keep only one hotel open during the winter

In 2012, the company cut 100 jobs blaming it on a decline in the tourist industry and closed all its businesses for two weeks in December 2008 after the island elected its first fully democratic government.

The island has a population of about 600.

'Horse and cart'

Mr Delaney said the business would be reduced to "a caretaker organisation" with the exception of the vineyards, which would be unaffected.

He said: "We'll probably keep one hotel open - we'll probably keep the Aval [Du Creux] open, for the minimal number of people who come to the island.

"(With) the rest of the hotels, it would be immoral to keep them open to just pay staff to stand around all day waiting for visitors which quite simply aren't going to come."

He added: "It's a horse and cart situation - the hotels can't stay open because the visitors won't come and the visitors won't come because the hotels aren't open.

"That's why there needs to be an overall well thought through economic policy for this island. That's the only way we'll achieve full employment on the back of the island's principle industry, which is tourism."

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