The year ahead: Jersey tourism

Written by: BL Global Posted: 05/01/2018

2018_Keith BeechamKeith Beecham, CEO, Visit Jersey, gives his views on the year ahead for tourism in the island

As we enter 2018, what’s the general health of tourism in Jersey?

Tourism is important. In 2016, the visitor economy contributed 8.3 per cent gross value added (GVA) and 12.6 per cent of employment to Jersey. Tourism and our other big island industries support each other.

Finance and agriculture both benefit from tourism services – flights, restaurants, hotels and shops all contribute to making our island a better place for all. 

In 2017, we saw a good pick-up in people choosing Jersey. Four per cent more people came to the island for many different reasons from January to September, compared with the previous year. Especially promising was the 17 per cent increase in staying holiday visitors, many travelling to Jersey outside the main summer season. 

Jersey scooped a number of awards during 2017 – the 2017 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards named Jersey as the third best holiday destination in the British Isles after London and Edinburgh. 

Entrepreneurs are once again investing – many hoteliers are upgrading their establishments, Premier Inn opens in Spring 2018, new restaurants have opened, and our attractions are extending the months they’re open. All this suggests that 2018 will be another year when we can look forward to welcoming increased numbers of holidaymakers.   

In the next 12 months, what do you think will be the biggest challenge(s)?

Businesses want to offer the very best services for their customers, but there’s likely to be continuing pressure on staffing. Jersey is near full employment, and to remain competitive with other destinations, we must strive to offer great experiences, which calls for passionate, skilled people. 

Businesses are concerned about staffing to provide the very best customer service. Tourism is a global business, characterised by very high levels of competition. Higher costs will have an impact on Jersey tourism businesses’ competitiveness. 

We also fully support the principle of investing in a modern infrastructure for the treatment of waste. This brings benefits to islanders and visitors alike. Jersey’s tourism and hospitality sector is comprised of many small and medium-sized businesses and we trust a fair solution will be found for the management of waste.

And where will the greatest opportunity lie?

We’ve a number of opportunities. Last year, working with Condor, we promoted Jersey to staying French visitors – over 1,000 more French cars came to Jersey in 2017.

We intend to continue this push into France this year. In 2018, there will be more than 60 per cent more seats flown from Germany to Jersey than in 2017 – we’re already tying up marketing campaigns with German tour operators. 

And in the UK, we’ve identified regions around key ports where we will work with carriers that will allow us to develop tourism from across Britain during the year. 

The Jersey Super League Triathlon showed what a great venue the island can be for sporting events. Working with sister agencies and commercial firms, we will be looking to build on this success. 

Our product team also has exciting plans to align the Jersey brand more effectively with all the on-island holiday experiences.   
Is there one thing that will dominate tourism this year? 

In all my years in tourism, I’ve learnt that the unexpected and unplanned will happen – sometimes man-made and at other times acts of God. Having said that, I expect our tourism businesses will be focusing on how to raise productivity – managing their resources to deliver great services for their customers.

Anything else you’d like to say?

We’re beginning to see signs that our tourism sector can grow all year round, signs that businesspeople are investing and innovating, and signs that more people want to visit our beautiful island. Visit Jersey is committed to partnering with the public, voluntary and commercial sectors to encourage these trends.

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