Ports of Jersey says it’s ready to offer up land to help construct “high quality, good value” hotels to stem the rapid loss of visitor accommodation.
CEO Matt Thomas said the body responsible for looking after the island’s airport and harbours would not be responsible for any project, but would be willing to partner with another business.
After five years of continuous growth, Ports made an £8.2m loss last year - including £315,000 in unpaid landing fees from collapsed airline Flybe - as passenger numbers at the Airport and Harbour fell by 76% and 87% respectively compared to 2019.
While travel volumes have now recovered to around 70% of pre-pandemic levels, far ahead of the UK, Mr Thomas says the island is now facing another challenge: declining bed stock.
If the matter isn’t addressed, he says this could ultimately impact on the number of flights and airlines coming to Jersey, reducing choice for islanders.
“While connectivity to the island is not only for tourist reasons, dwindling hotel availability will impact on the capacity airlines are prepared to offered. If capacity or links are reduced, this will impact all islanders who use those links to access the UK and further afield,” he explained.
“It is of paramount importance that we work as an island to help facilitate and encourage new investment in additional accommodation across our tourism sector to ensure we have sufficient capacity to meet and maintain demand.”
Pictured: Matt Thomas, the CEO for Ports of Jersey.
This weekend alone, three hotels shut their doors to give way to housing: the Revere, Stafford and Mayfair.
The Savoy has also announced its imminent closure and replacement with a number of environmentally friendly homes, and a number of smaller guesthouses and tourist accommodation units have also closed their doors in recent years.
Currently, the only new hotel set to enter the market in the near future is a second Premier Inn in Bath Street, which is being developed by Le Masurier.
The development company is also working on plans to regenerate former offices in Broad Street, and recently tasked construction students with considering how a hotel might fit in - though Le Masurier has not publicly confirmed whether or not it is looking at a third Premier Inn for this building.
If the island continues to lose hotels, Mr Thomas said Ports may step in to make up the shortfall.
Pictured: The Savoy Hotel is set to be replaced with 'eco homes'.
He told Express: “The future success of our visitor economy will depend on the availability of high quality, good value visitor accommodation. The pandemic has resulted in a further decline in bed stock, which needs to be reversed.
“To ensure the sustainability of our air and sea links, Ports of Jersey has available estate that could be used to provide visitor accommodation.”
However, he said that “Ports of Jersey would not develop such accommodation itself, rather any development would be done in partnership with a third party.”
It comes after Ports said in an Island Plan submission that it wanted to create a "new waterside community" with homes - and possibly visitor accommodation - built at the site of the former La Folie Inn and on New North Quay.
Pictured: Ports has suggested using the site of La Folie Inn, which has been derelict for many years.
Ports believe they have a strong case to make in building housing on the New North Quay and the La Folie site, which it wants designated for “residential-led development, potentially with visitor accommodation”.
The full plans are still yet to be released.
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