Guernsey International Airport • from Guernsey Gache to Gaultier and Gabbana
Now not a lot of people know this, but Guernsey residents have one of the highest average disposable incomes per head in the world. This self governing island, loyal to the British crown, looks after its own fiscal affairs • meaning that it has enjoyed a favourable tax climate for many years (tax free but not duty free).
This has seen many offshore banks, fund managers and insurance companies establishing bases here • in addition to the traditional industries of fishing, flower growing and dairy farming. There are also a number of well known, high profile retailers based here, including Specsavers and Healthy Direct. Guernsey also boasts gorgeous beaches, a beautiful coastline with stunning cliff walks, a bustling main town of St Peter Port and countless quality restaurants, bars and pubs. Hence, the island attracts a real mix of business and leisure traffic through the one terminal airport • which is also the quickest source of transportation for residents back to the UK, Europe and beyond.
With almost one million passengers a year, Guernsey International Airport is pretty busy day in and day out. The duty free shop has always been a bit of a disappointment, given the type of passenger using the facility, a bit of a hotch potch of this and that really with not a great deal to inspire. Not any more
September 2009 saw the official opening of a completely transformed duty free shop • a modern, bright , clean mini department store that’s easy to navigate and shop.
You’ll find a far greater choice in fragrances and beauty products than previously and several brands have been introduced for the first time including Clarins and Estee Lauder. There’s also a much expanded range of Clinique skincare products and fragrances from Armani, Gucci and Jean Paul Gaultier. Prices are competitive compared to the Guernsey High Street; we found prices at up to £10 cheaper for the same product • and of course, you’ll also find a range of travel retail exclusives, particularly cosmetic palettes, that you simply won’t find domestically.
The accessory offer has also been significantly upgraded , reducing the number of ‘local’ souvenirs in favour of designer names such as Prada and Dolce & Gabbana - sunglasses, watches, ties, Swarovski jewellery, leathergoods etc and a dedicated Hugo Boss gondola. Admittedly the duty free shop can’t compete on the sheer variety and choice of watches and jewellery that you’ll find in St Peter Port, but certainly for those who’ve been to Guernsey on business and not had the opportunity to shop, at least now there is a reasonable choice! Plus, again you’ll find exclusive brands here such as Aviator watches.
With two front entrances from the airside lounge area, the shop divides fairly cleanly into two areas, with beauty products and accessories to the left and liquor, tobacco and confectionery to the right. In between is a two sided sales area which also offers a range of impulse add-ons such as Guernsey fudge, toffee and gache (local fruit bread) • so you can still stock up on those local souvenir items.
Liquor and tobacco remains a key category in the shop and prices are competitive compared to the domestic market., with an extended selection of wines and improved premium brand offer. Tobacco is good value, especially if you are in a position to buy multipacks of 200 or 300 • and prices did compare favourably with airlines flying into the airport.
There’s also a much better range of confectionery now, with all the key international brands you’d expect to find at Confectionery has also been extended to include key brand selections, wider choice and bigger pack sizes.
Don’t forget that Guernsey is not part of the EU so duty free allowances DO apply for Brits and EU residents.