From Laurence Howard.
IF Jersey is to join the dogfight for tourists in 2009 (and that’s what it’s going to be – an almighty dogfight), Tourism will have to persuade the powers that be to clean up the awful mess in your capital town along the Waterfront. At the moment it all looks like Gaza.
I have been coming to Jersey for over 25 years, supplying my customers in the catering trade, and I’ve seen your lovely, friendly, unique town change for the worse in the name of progress – or should that be speculation?
There is so much scaffolding in every street that it’s like Germany after the war when they were rebuilding their cities, and the Waterfront has so many misshapen buildings of different hues, it’s like one of our inner cities in the UK.
The abattoir is being redeveloped, my friends tell me, with more shops being built, but who in their right mind is going to pay the huge rent that will be required to have one of these shops? There are big-name shops in the UK closing their doors every day, so this is hardly the time to open a new shop because the money is just not there.
The other problem your tourism chiefs must tackle are the exaggerated prices of hotels in Jersey and the cost of airline travel. People are looking for value for money in the present climate and Jersey is not good value for money.
I took my family to Greece for a ten-day self-catering holiday which cost £750 for four of us. That was accommodation, air fares and transfers all-in.
My latest trip to Jersey cost me £295 in fares alone. If you want to compete in the very aggressive tourist market, you will have to do better than a few shots of sea and sand.
It won’t work while your major town is such a mess.