Jersey Tourism Conference - November 23rd

Yesterday the Jersey Tourism industry gathered at the Hotel de France to receive details of the 2007 marketing campaign, learn the findings of a study by Locum Consulting into the future of Jersey's Tourism industry and the results of a stakeholder survey. In a departure from the normal format the organisers also invited a representative of the Cayman Islands Dept of Tourism to present the background to their own industry and Lawrence Huggler of The Club Hotel & Spa told the audience why he took the risk of creating a boutique hotel in the heart of St Helier, while the industry was continuing to decline.

It was a packed schedule and not surprisingly was unable to keep up with the time plan. However, the new format certainly worked and provided a varied and informative day. In previous years the meeting had focused on our current woes and dealt with the short term 'solutions' - i.e. next year's advertising campaigns. By directing attention, via the Locum report, onto the longer term and how the industry needed to re-focus and change it's product to appeal to the growth markets, the approach was much more optimistic and outward-looking.

David Geddes of Locum confirmed that there was no quick fix to our industry's problems, but that the current investment in new hotels and attractions showed that there was likely to be a positive future for tourism. The future lies in targeting the short break leisure market and a more 'cosmopolitan' audience than it does now. Of course, the problem here is that this audience stays for shorter periods (2-3 nights at weekends only) and is less loyal which means we will have to work harder to attract this audience in a huge global tourism market. No challenge there then!

The trouble is that building or converting properties is not cheap (25-30% premium over UK rates) & creating an acceptable ROI is hard. Government hand-outs are not necessarily the answer, but incentives will encourage investment. The minister responsible for Jersey's Economic Development, Senator Philip Ozouf, who kicked off the event, did indicate that another £1million had been earmarked for the Tourism Development Fund in 2007 & that at long last the fund would be opened up for private business applications.

There's a lot more pain for the industry to endure, before the tide turns. Yet, there now seems to be a general consensus that bemoaning the past is not going to provide a solution for the future.

My next post will deal with the more immediate issue of Jersey Tourism's maketing strategy for 2007

1 comment:

PeanutNutter said...

I totally agree that Jersey should be looking to a new tourism market.

Not only are the number of summer visitors to the island dwindling, but I also believe that on the whole the two weeks at the British seaside is on the decline as a whole - there's not really that market to appeal to anymore.

Jersey needs to get the 'on-the-spur-of-the-moment-I-fancy-a-few-days-away' style holiday maker. You want to attract the young professional who fancies a long weekend out of the rat race to revive and refresh, who can't be bothered with the hassle of long flights, travelling to another country extra.

Basically Jersey is so convenient for people in England (especially London. And busy young professionals want a hassle free break so its perfect.

To attract this sort of person you need stylish but cheap accommodation. A sort of Ikea furniture of the hotel/self-catering world - its looks nice but doesn't cost a lot.

Basically I believe that Jersey needs to be a rival to the weekend in the country for a Londoner. As it is just as convenient as driving up to the Peak District but has that added charm of really feeling like you are getting away from it all as its on an island.

Fingers crossed for Jersey Tourism industry. We really have such a beautiful island and I find it such a shame that more people don't come over and experience.

The time for change has come and lets do something about it. We've been trying to live off the back of Bergerac for too long!