Date Posted: 09/03/2017
One Hastings United supporters' visit to Guernsey if is a prime example of the value of sports tourism.
The Arrows had a large contingent of fans travel over for the Sussex side's 1-0 win at Footes Lane in February, with many making the trips a day or two in advance of the match to explore and enjoy the island.
One such supporter was Les Gasson (pictured on the right visiting Fort Hommet with a fellow fan) who has been following Hastings since the late 1960s. He estimates that around 25 Arrows fans made the trip.
It was Les' first visit to the island, and found there was plenty to enjoy as well as the football.
"The match was obviously the main draw, especially in February, but we decided to make it a long weekend (Friday to Monday) to see some of the sights, although a couple were closed for the winter.
"We were very lucky with the weather on the Saturday, and got some really clear pictures.
"We visited the Occupation Museum, Fort Hommet, Castle Cornet and a couple of beaches. We had hoped to see the Military Underground Hospital too but it was closed."
"We had no plans to visit Guernsey if it wasn’t for the football," he added, highlighting the value that high-level sport can offer for the island. "Hopefully we'll get an April/May or Aug/Sept fixture at some point.
"Speaking personally, football/sport is a major draw to visit places I wouldn’t normally go to, or it gives me the the incentive to go.
"Having visited over 50 countries for football, rugby & cricket with England some of those places are way off the normal ‘holiday’ destinations."
Guernsey made quite the impression and Les hopes to return with family at some point.
"We were impressed by the friendliness, the food and some of the scenery," he said. "There were plenty of eating & drinking options - all in all, not bad for a February trip.
"Which is why we would like to come back in the summer."