‘Events are increasingly important to tourism’

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Today’s Battle of Flowers parade is among a number of showpiece events due to take place in the coming weeks, including the Jersey International Air Display, the Super League Triathlon, the Weekender Festival and the Jersey Festival of Words.

A revamped Jersey Beer and Cider Festival under the management of EC Events is also due to take place from 14 to 16 September in the People’s Park.

And with more and more visitors coming to the Island for large scale events, talks are ongoing to put on more showpieces, particularly outside of the summer months so that tourism is boosted throughout the year.

For what is believed to be the first time ever, a cruise ship has moored off the Island during the Battle of Flowers with more than 120 passengers on the Sage Pearl II planning to attend the parade along with thousands of other tourists.

This afternoon’s Battle is due to feature 25 floats made by parishes and individual groups with Islanders dedicating thousands of hours putting the mobile displays together. (Full report in tomorrow’s JEP).

Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham said that the Battle of Flowers and the Jersey International Air Display are the flagship events during Jersey’s tourism high season.

He added that his team is working to develop more events to help attract visitors to the Island, in particular outside of the summer months.

‘We founded Events Jersey with the brief of developing Jersey as a place to visit in the winter and shoulder months,’ he said.

‘The Battle of Flowers and the Battle of Britain remain our flagship events but we have seen that with events like the Super League Triathlon and the Festival of Words we have shown that we can fill the Island outside of the high season.

‘The Jersey Reds rugby is another good example. As well as being good for sports development they have also attracted thousands of people to the Island during the winter months.

‘The good thing about events is that if people come over for them then a large proportion of them, as much as 50 per cent I think, come back for another holiday.’

Senator Farnham said that Events Jersey has a number of ideas in the pipeline for additional events in Jersey.

‘We have got some ideas and are talking to organisations that are interested but it is too early to give any more details at this stage,’ he said.

‘If more visitors are coming during the winter and shoulder months it means we are boosting the productivity of hotels and restaurants, which will receive more customers throughout the year.’

Keith Beecham, the chief executive of Visit Jersey, which promotes the Island’s tourism industry, said that he expects visitor numbers to increase this year and events have played their part.

‘We haven’t got the official figures yet but I would be very surprised if we don’t see an improvement compared to last year. It’s looking very positive,’ he said.

‘There are a number of factors behind this. We are doing a great job of marketing the Island, but organisations across the visitor economy are working together to build reasons to visit Jersey.

‘With Brexit more people in the UK are having “staycations” and holidaying in Britain rather than going abroad due to the exchange rate. Visitors from the EU are also getting more money for their euros by coming here.

‘And the hot weather we are having has also meant that more people are holidaying closer to home rather than going abroad.’

He added that he believes the Battle of Flowers is a ‘cornerstone’ of Jersey life.

‘Hundreds, if not thousands, of Islanders have been working toward the Battle of Flowers, which is a really big community event for Jersey,’ he said.

‘There have a been a number of innovations made this year such as the Little Gig in the Lower Park. It’s important that cornerstone events like the Battle do this.’

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