Jersey Tourism PPP – Economic Development release final proposals

The creation of a new marketing organisation for Jersey, based on a private public partnership, is possibly the single biggest change in the tourism industry for over two decades. It’s surprising therefore that the release of the final proposal document has taken place without so far a word to the industry from either of the two sponsors. You can download a copy by clicking here.

Locum Consulting were commissioned by the States of Jersey to produce a paper outlining the form that the new organisation could take and how it would function and be resourced. The process has taken a couple of years and has resulted in the production of this final report which has been endorsed by both Mike King, chief executive at Economic Development and Gerald Fletcher, chief executive of the Jersey Hospitality Association.

The new organisation will be called ‘Marketing Jersey’ and will be a non profit-making limited company, controlled by an independent board of directors and funded through the combination of a States grant and private sector finance, raised through membership fees.

Overall, I support the proposals, although I have concerns on three issues:

1) It is proposed that the Board will be made up of 11 individuals – this looks too big to me and could become turgid and incapable of taking effective decisions. A maximum of 8 board members should be the target.

2) The structure of the executive groups – why split prestige and traditional holiday markets into separate groups? The skills required to market these products are the same. Combine the two into one group otherwise the marketing manager is going to be pulled in different directions by separate group chairmen.

3) The biggest concern is funding. According to the document, the JHA have been tasked with bringing forward membership fee proposals – members need to see these proposals before agreeing to go ahead. Moreover what guarantees are there on States funding? Whilst there is a 3 year rolling deal, Treasury will presumably be looking to achieve a phased reduction in the grant provided and there will need to be safeguards in place to ensure that the total pot does not keep falling. There seems to be no guarantee of this within the proposal.

I would urge everyone directly involved or associated with our industry to download the document, digest it and give your feedback to Economic Development and the JHA – which I am sure they would be keen to receive. You can also vote in the poll to the right of this post.

Economic Development want to see the new organisation in place in time to take on 2009 marketing. But in my opinion the industry needs to make sure we have the right organisation with a secure funding structure in place before we commit to such a fundamental change.


Anonymous said...

It seems this document has been in circulation since September but only now is being aired!!

What this new PPP structure will do is increase costs of the operation. There is no way the new department, free of the shackles of states graded pay schemes, will be able to pay as poorly as it has done for some time. The reason that JT has struggled to get any decent staff to join from the industry is because of the poor wages it offers for what should be specialist jobs.

Anonymous said...

"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."

John J Kennedy 1917 - 1963)

A great destination is somewhere people want to move to, to be jealous of their friends living there, perhaps live there themselves. Also somewhere people want to work; somewhere people want to invest not only their money in but also their time.

A truly great tourism destination is somewhere that is worth leaving your own home for. Again and again.

There are a number of vital components that provide the basis for a destination:

ATTRACTIONS help create awareness of a destination and attract PR/market interest. Attractions tend to deliver the ‘wow factor of a visitor ‘s stay. They include iconic heritage sites, natural features, retail, leisure and cultural facilities, and events.

INFRASTRUCTURE helps create the style of the destination and supports the operation of the destination. It is not just about roads and airports but includes transport, parking, signage, public spaces and so on.

FACILITIES cater to visitors’ (and residents’) desires, help create financial activity and therefore increase spending. They include hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, theatres and event programmes.

The destination’s BRAND captures all these elements of the destination and presents it clearly to the market. A successful destination brand expresses a destinations ambition, raises expectations and want and also delivers a promise of experience.

Destination marketing versus management is often debated but a harmonized MANAGEMENT of the destination is important to long term success. Planning, development, operations, legislation, ease of investment, branding and marketing must be managed for the destination.

A strong destination can build and support a brand that penetrates its target market.

A strong destination needs to differentiate itself from the competition. It needs distinctive attractions. These could include cultural venues or spectacular public spaces which cannot be homogenised and really provide a competitive differentiation. Unique leisure and cultural experiences help establish destinations way beyond what a single hotel or restaurant are capable of.

So, does any of this make a difference to inward investment decision making? Leisure and cultural attractions are not just for visitors – these innovative attractions coupled with a strong destination brand will get Jersey noticed. However issues such as staff skills base, financial incentives, ease of accessibility, the outdated restrictions on the movement of people and available premises will be the ultimate deciding factors for investors, but a great destination with a high profile brand would help!

Furthermore, residents and employees want to live and work in interesting, lively and dynamic locations. One of the most valuable resources a destination can offer an investor is talent and ‘quality of life’ is a key life-choice factor for any highly skilled person.

What we have to have is joined up thinking and what this report might just do is create that. The airport director is giving the impression of trying to run things now by calling a meeting together of industry individuals as a Tourism Industry Taskforce. However well intentioned Mr Green’s motives are surely it is better to have one representative and skilled “Jersey Partnership” pulling together those five components above rather than the current headless mess we have.

Jersey has spent too long looking at the past, trying to find excuses and ideally somebody to blame. Instead we should have been spending our efforts looking at what the market wants rather than defending the often sub-standard experience we feel they should accept.

It’s time for Jersey to look to the future, think imaginatively about how leisure and culture can ensure the island is unique and help shape and brand a distinguishing destination experience –and create a destination worth leaving home for.

Robert Mackenzie said...

Thanks for this extremely detailed and well-thought-through response. Probably the best comments I have received in the 15 months this blog has been in existence.

I should advise everyone that Jersey Tourism have told me that whilst the Locum report does represent the consultant's recommendations, the final proposal from the department to The Council of Ministers will not necssarily include all of their proposals. For example it is no longer felt that 'Marketing Jersey' is the right name for the new organisation.

It does beg the question why ED have chosen to make the consultant's report public - if it does not represent their own views. Anyway hopefully we will not have long to wait for the final proposal document to be made public.
Robert Mackenzie