Keith Beecham, head of the tourism body, said campaigns promoting the Island for a short break between January and March had proved successful – with one online ad attracting more than 650,000 views in just over a month.
And he added that ‘optimistic signs’ such as the new inter-island ferry, the new easyJet route to Edinburgh and further capacity on the German routes, as well as September’s Superleague triathlon, would help to continue to boost tourist numbers throughout 2018.
Mr Beecham’s comments come as Ports of Jersey revealed that 86,956 people passed through Jersey Airport last month – nearly 20 per cent more than the 72,641 passengers who passed through in 2014.
In comparison, 85,063 and 83,091 air passengers arrived and departed in January 2017 and 2016 respectively.
Mr Beecham said that while the breakdown of Islanders to visitors arriving and departing from the Airport is not yet known – the figure is expected to be ready in five weeks’ time – the initial number was ‘promising’.
He added that the latest figures showed Visit Jersey’s winter campaign had helped to boost tourist numbers during the quieter shoulder months.
‘The number of holiday visitors to Jersey in the last three years [2015 to 2017] from January to March has increased by 59 per cent,’ he said.
‘We’ve always promoted Jersey but in the last couple of years we’ve really pushed the winter season. This year I think we’ve really tried hard to present what you can do in 48 hours in Jersey in winter.
‘We need to be doing this so we can ensure that the hotels, restaurants and attractions can stay open and our economy thrives throughout the year.’
A winter ad on Visit Jersey’s website has been viewed in full more than 650,000 times since it was launched in December, something Mr Beecham describes as ‘very impressive’. And 20,000 people have also entered a competition to win a winter break to Jersey.
Visit Jersey has a target of attracting one million visitors and to generate half a billion pounds to the economy per year by 2030.
When asked if he thought Visit Jersey was on target to achieve this ambition, Mr Beecham said: ‘I think so.
‘We will be reporting 2017 data in another couple of weeks. I’m hopeful there will be a positive story.’
Ports of Jersey said that since the start of the year there had been increases in the London market compared to 2017, as well as rises in passenger numbers for Scotland, the Midlands and the south. However, the number of inter-island air passenger numbers for last month were 11 per cent down compared to January 2017.
British Airways held the largest market share at 31% in January, closely followed by easyJet with 29% and Flybe at 20%.
Paul Holley, group commercial manager for Ports of Jersey, said: ‘We are very pleased with the positive start to the year, which is our highest recorded January in terms of passenger figures for a number of years.
‘With increased capacity on several popular routes for 2018, including Dublin, as well as the introduction of a new Edinburgh service and a return of our comprehensive German market, we are optimistic that this growth level will continue in 2018.’
Meanwhile, the number of sea passengers last month dropped by more than 2,600 people compared to January 2017. A total of 8,860 sea passengers travelled through the ports last month compared to 11,489 and 11,602 in January 2017 and 2016 respectively.
The number of arrival ship movements was also down slightly, from 143 in January 2017 to 134 last month.