If covid-19 has hit out economy hard, then the hospitality industry has been dealt the hardest blow of them all.
With all venues closed for weeks, and only now starting to carefully open, much of the cash has been sucked out of local businesses.
And that's combined with the difficulties in finding staff, and visitors not being around.
With the virus hitting in the crucial March/April period, the crisis couldn't have come at a worst time, and leaves the sector potentially facing a period equivalent to three winters in a row.
In the next in our series on how the different parts of the island's economy will react to the virus crisis, today we focus on hospitality...
"We all now have an idea of what effect this terrible disease has had on our lives. It is almost certain that some of the changes we’ve got used to recently will remain for some time to come, and that’s a difficult pill to swallow for the hospitality industry.
We have been fortunate in some cases that businesses were able to adapt, and it has been encouraging to see how some elements of the lockdown restrictions have been eased. What is clear from the experience in Jersey is that Islanders do understand the importance of the hospitality sector. They were quick to embrace initiatives such as Fetch.je, and make use of the many options for home delivery.
But it is the hotels and guest houses that have really taken the full force of this. Many had invested over the winter months, and were looking forward to re-opening this spring to what was shaping up to be a busy year for visitors.
The next steps will be crucial. Which further categories of business that will be allowed to open will depend on how well Jersey moves through the Safe Exit Framework. Once we get more of an idea of how that is going to progress, we’ll be able to put more plans in place.
Pictured: Genuine Jersey and the JHA are working together to encourage islanders to support local businesses.
We need to prepare ourselves for what could be the equivalent of three winters in a row, because there is every chance that we are going to face very few people coming here during the summer months. That means we need to be realistic about what that might do to us.
And that’s where we think the island will now step in, and play its part. Few of us will be heading off for our summer holidays, and once again in a time of crisis, the ‘staycation’ could be our saviour. We are hoping that many Islanders will chose to take advantage of the fantastic hospitality we have here.
Many have already started enjoying attractions, such as Jersey Zoo, that have begun to re-open. We hope that’s a sign of things to come and that as an island, we all continue to appreciate what we have here.
As an industry, we were already having to absorb higher costs due to rises in impôt duties, but we were gearing up for a good season, with well-trained and motivated employees, and world-class restaurants and hotels.
This is the time to start enjoying those, and by doing so, ensuring they have a future in this beautiful island that under normal circumstances, many, many people want to visit."
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