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'Visit Jersey' is too costly, says Tourism boss

'Visit Jersey' is too costly, says Tourism boss

Thursday 15 May 2014

'Visit Jersey' is too costly, says Tourism boss

Thursday 15 May 2014

The man in charge of boosting the number of visitors to Jersey is warning that plans to get rid of Jersey Tourism will end up costing the Island more.

Tourism boss David de Carteret says replacing his department, and the Jersey Conference Bureau, with an independent body, provisionally called Visit Jersey, will need significant extra investment at a time when States revenues are likely to decline.

Mr de Carteret makes his comments in a response to the the report of the Tourism Shadow Board (TSB), which proposed replacing Jersey Tourism with Visit Jersey. He says that the model is "potentially high risk", with no evidence that it has been successful anywhere else.

His report, which was written for the Economic Development Minister, Senator Alan Maclean, says there’s less money to spend on the new proposals than the TSB quoted in its report, with the department's budget at currently £5.46 million, not £6.5 million, and no financial provision in the new proposals for the 22 staff on permanent contracts and a "pre-1987 pension debt of £1.6m".

He’s also critical of the figures used in the report which paint a gloomy picture of Jersey’s performance as a tourist destination: a 30% decline in visitors over the last 15 years, compared to 24% fewer in Guernsey and 13% fewer in the Isle of Man.

But taken over the last five years, he says comparisons show that Jersey is actually in a stronger position than Guernsey – attracting another 1,000 visitors between 2009 and 2013, whilst the number of tourists holidaying in Guernsey fell by 20,000 over the same period.

Tourism's main marketing tool is the website, www.jersey.com, and Mr de Carteret warns that's also under threat, as it may be transferred to the States eGovernment project, which aims to get Islanders interacting with government far more online. But he goes on to say: "Even without this threat, jersey.com is on the brink of requiring a phase of significant investment which is as yet unfunded."

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