Jersey has all the makings of a fantastic year-round destination for visitors, says Jersey Hospitality Association’s Simon Soar. However, there’s one big problem….
‘There is an enormous appetite within the industry to make Jersey a year-round holiday destination. We have the space and capacity for it to work, and the island has what it takes in terms of attractions.
‘Different visitors want different things. For short breaks, we have bespoke shopping and incredible dining experiences on offer. Jersey has one of the 10 oldest manmade structures in the world. We have castles, forts and more. For an island of this size, we have an incredible quality of attractions to offer.
‘Our job isn’t to bring people over here or market the island – that’s where Visit Jersey comes in. It’s the hospitality industry’s job to make sure that once people are here, we have the capacity to accommodate and feed them.
‘Increasing business in the busy season means adding an additional one or two beds. But during a time when we’re at half capacity or less, increasing visitor numbers would make a huge difference to the industry. It’s something we’d love to do, but are we going to be able to get the staff to do it?
‘We talk about it a lot but it’s by far our biggest concern – will we have enough staff to service requirements? At the moment, we are granted seasonal licenses. If we want Jersey to be a year-round destination, we will need staff to be granted licenses to stay out of season.
‘Jersey is a destination with enormous potential year-round, but if, as an island, we’re serious about persuading people to visit off-season, it’s going to take more than good marketing to make it work. Hospitality is going to need support at a government level to ensure we can get the staff needed to make it a success.’