Visitor numbers are no longer important?!

Last Thursday it was all aboard the bus tour, courtesy of Tantivy, for the frozen north to enjoy lunch at Simon Dufty's Le Frere and listen to the Minister for 'Finance Industry Development' expound on how he sees the future for tourism (one of the other industries that he has to show interest in) at the Jersey Hospitality Association's quarterly forum.

As predicted in a previous blog, this time next year we will no longer have Jersey Tourism in it's current form. Locum, who recently presented their report on where the industry needs to be heading have now been asked to review the Tourism department and recommend alternative structures and funding. Asked how he saw the department operating in the future Ozouf wouldn't pre-empt Locum's report. But he gave a clear idea of his own vision by suggesting that the Jersey Finance PPP model worked very well. Trouble is that the funding works on £1.00 from government for every £4.00 from the industry which is simply not going to work in Tourism. Anyway let's hope it's a reasonably swift process - if only to keep the Tourism team focused on the key task - trying to rebuild our industry.

Which brings me to the other key point from Ozouf's speech. Apparently, visitor numbers are no longer important and we need to focus on other measures of success, such as visitor spend! So, by this I assume he means it doesn't matter if we lose a few thousand more visitors as long as the few remaining visitors who do come, spend a lot.

Sorry Senator, you're wrong. Volume is important. How do you think we are going to continue to attract airlines to fly here if there are no passengers to travel on their planes? Critical mass is, well critical if we are to maintain the links and that means keeping the 'bums in seats' as high as we can.

Anyhow, Ozouf promised that the new targets for 2007 will be released to the industry in a couple of weeks. I await with interest to see what they are. Since it's Cosmopolitans we are looking for - perhaps we'll be measuring the numbers of copies of GQ & Harpers we sell in the newsagents!

By the way, if volume is not important, why this time last year were the Tourism department shouting from the roof tops that visitor numbers had slightly increased? But I suppose you only shout when the news is good.

1 comment:

Steve Beddoe said...

Jersey goverment many many years ago reconized the value to the economy of tourism as an industry and set up and funded a tourism department to create & stimulate demand in the island.
It is unusual to select a destination purely based on hotel.You decide where you want to go and then choose where to stay.It would be redundent for every hotel to sell the island and themslves.
It is up to the hoteliers to fight for their share of the business that the tourism has created.