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Are we serious about tourism or not?

Are we serious about tourism or not?

Friday 31 March 2017

Are we serious about tourism or not?

Friday 31 March 2017

From a bowling alley in the International Finance Centre to a 30-home holiday village and a Rainforest Café - the owner of Tamba Park has thrown down the gauntlet to the States to get behind the hospitality industry.

Jonathan Ruff – founder of the Tamba Park amusements chain – has announced ambitious plans that he believes will rejuvenate Island tourism, provide more family entertainment and solve Jersey’s holidaymaker accommodation “crisis".

He said that the States had given his businesses very little support and called on Ministers to “step up” to the challenge of diversifying Jersey’s economy.

“I’ve got zero positivity from [the States of Jersey]. I’m not trying to build some base for criminal activity, we’re trying to better Tamba Park. I think I’ve proven myself now. That’s what frustrates me. I’m not coming up with my first idea. Tamba creates jobs, and how much money it brings to the Island is incredible,” he told Express.


Pictured: One of the many dinosaurs to graze Mr Ruff's Tamba Park.

Amongst his ideas is an indoor play centre and restaurant combination to be installed at the former joinery he has purchased beside the Millennium Park in the north of St Helier.

“It’s a great space because of the spot that it’s in. It faces the park, [and] it’s got a lot of footfall around there… Because it’s so big and so high, you could put something quite good in there, like a climbing centre in there,” Mr Ruff commented.

In late April, he’ll also be applying to build over 30 three-bedroom holiday homes surrounding Tamba Park, which he hopes will be approved in three months.

Built in conjunction with Green Unit, a UK company, the pod-style homes will be fully self-catered and equipped with electronics, featuring a small garden area outside. With their ‘green’ roofs and cedar wood exteriors, Mr Ruff hopes that they will easily blend into the landscape.

Moreover, he hopes the unique offering will draw attention from younger tourists.

“I’ve done my research, and been to seminars where they’ve talked about the need for diversification. If we’re going to attract a tourist when the world is their oyster, we’re going to have to give them something that they want to come to. We’re always complaining about how old our tourist is so this would help – this is more for the younger tourists. Someone who’s looking at Jersey that’s got a young family and wants to come over, they can stay in one of these.”

Meanwhile, Mr Ruff has been looking at the possibility of creating a bowling alley in the space either in or above M&S Home at Liberty Wharf or the newly-built International Finance Centre.

“If there was a bit of fun in [the IFC], people would warm to it a bit more,” he said.

JIFC International Finance Centre Building Four

Pictured: Building Four of the International Finance Centre, where Mr Ruff would like to see a bowling alley-style facility.

There’s already some public support for the plans – a Facebook post on the topic received over 600 likes – but Mr Ruff expects resistance from planning officials, although he says he’s “willing to push all the way”.

“I’m going to be very public about this, and if they do reject it then I’m going to let people know every step of the way why it’s been rejected.

“We should call an Island referendum so that they can make decisions on stuff like this in the future. Not the ministers, let the people decide.”

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Posted by Des Pyper on
he should be in charge of Tourism but don't hold your breath for approval! Wishing you all the luck for the approval ,we need entreprenural ideas from people that have done it not Politicians that have never run a million pound business and waste money because it is not there own!
Posted by Steve Cole on
What is the problem. We have an entrepreneur who apparently has backing who wants to make Jersey a better place to live in and to come as a tourist. Go for it Jonathan and I am certain most of us residents will support you. However there will always be those who create nothing and do nothing for Jersey except moan at people who try to do something.
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