From Patrick Cooper.
IT is all very well promoting Jersey as a euro-free zone (even if the details in the brochures are incorrect), but I think those in charge need to look at the Island from a tourist’s perspective.
The one thing that is going to encourage mass tourism on a scale like we used to experience, say 20 years ago, is value for money. The first place the majority of tourists encounter when coming to the Island is the Airport.
Whenever I go on holiday I routinely shop around on the internet looking for the best flight deals into and out of the Island. I recently flew back from Bristol with Flybe on a ticket for the princely price of £0. ‘Bargain!’ I thought. However, this was not the full price. I had to pay £7.99 for a ‘hold’ bag, which I can accept, and £36 in airport and associated taxes, which I can’t.
Now I wouldn’t mind betting that these airport taxes have steadily increased since the building of the new departure terminal and assorted runway works, on the pretence of ‘don’t worry, the finance and business community will easily pay off this debt.’ Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened, as much of this business can be done through the internet and on the phone rather than in person.
At the same time the authorities have priced themselves out of the mass tourism market at the first hurdle.
To be truly competitive in the mass tourism market the Island has to be seen to be giving good all-round value for money. We need to look at the bigger picture using the supermarket principle of lower prices and pushing higher volume of sales in order to generate the turnover required to make it a viable business proposition.
At the moment tourism is working nowhere near its capacity potential in peak season and as such is an under-used resource which has a significant effect on the Island as a whole. So I say to those in charge of tourism, let’s not just talk about being a euro-free zone with lovely sandy beaches, because that means very little when compared to budget trips elsewhere in Europe. Jersey is currently over-priced and lacks a real competitive edge in the European holiday market.
While they are at it, Jersey Tourism could also encourage pubs and restaurants to continue Tennerfest menus all year round and make a point of using this as part of their value-for-money advertising campaign.