The number of pubs and bars operated on the Channel Islands is set to decline, as operators take steps to deal with decreasing visitor numbers and uncertainty over the impact of smoking bans on the islands. CI Traders, which operates the majority of pubs, bars and restaurants on the islands, yesterday reported a 41.3% drop in turnover across its hospitality businesses for the 26 weeks to 29 July compared to the same period in 2005. The group, which sold its Edwinns and Blubeckers restaurants to The Restaurant Group in June 2005 for £27m, currently operates over 80 managed and tenanted bar, pubs and restaurants, plus three hotels in Jersey and Guernsey. However, it has decided to gradually reduce the number of pubs and bars it operates on the islands, which have become unsustainable. Martin Bralsford, chief executive, said: “The Channel Islands visitor numbers continue to show little sign of recovery after 15 years in decline. We are waiting to see the impact of the smoking ban on our businesses in Guernsey, but with a ban soon to be adopted in Jersey in January 2007, we predict this will have a negative impact on trading. “With this in mind we have started a process of evaluating each site we operate to determine its future prospects. Those that we believe can not be sustained in the current trading climate or going forward we will dispose of.” According to Bralsford, developers are acquiring the majority of pubs and bars the company has already put on the market. He said: “They are not interested in operating a pub or a bar but in the land, which means the number of pubs and bars operated on the islands will decrease.” The company also reported that the reduction in visitor numbers had impacted on its three hotels in Guernsey, which saw a drop in occupancy levels and room rates.