MEMBERS of the hospitality industry offer ‘a huge untapped resource to guide the tourism helm’, according to one of the longest-serving figures in the sector.
Richard Huson, who – with his wife Ida – runs the Undercliff Guest House in Bouley Bay, said that there was scope for greater involvement on the part of hoteliers, restaurateurs, nightclub owners and others with years of experience in the Island to help consolidate Jersey’s position following the pandemic.
‘The government has this attitude that we must have someone with credentials a mile long from having worked in some borough in England, so that means they must be good; they must understand things,’ he said. ‘But they don’t and they keep making that same mistake, whereas the captains of industry in Jersey know exactly what they are doing – they understand the business.’
In comments which echo those of events promoter Warren Le Sueur to this newspaper recently, Mr Huson endorsed the idea of giving greater emphasis to local experience as Jersey rebuilt its hospitality sector.
‘I think we should be forming these groups of people with an in-depth knowledge from the nightclubs to the hotels and restaurants and using them a lot more. They are a huge untapped resource and they should be guiding the tourism helm a bit more.
‘In Jersey they have this thing about getting people in. I can’t understand how they think that somebody else knows better than someone who has lived here for 50 years. I just don’t get that at all. It frustrates me but it runs right through government – it’s not just tourism. It cheeses me off.’
Mr Huson, whose family have run the Undercliff Guest House since 1969, said that, while the present season was going well, bookings had yet to reach their 2019 pre-pandemic levels but he expressed confidence in a scaled-down tourism industry to continue to attract visitors.
‘I think there are probably still a few people to drop out of the industry but if you look at hotels as a business and if you know what you are doing, they give quite a good return on investment compared with other businesses.’