Travel company predicts ‘fourth-quarter explosion’
PENT-UP demand for holidays in Jersey is likely to lead to an ‘explosion’ of activity in the fourth quarter of the year, according to one travel company.
Anthony McGinty, chief executive of Channel Escapes, which has been bringing visitors to the Island since 1993, said that a huge number of their clients who had booked holidays for this spring had transferred their bookings to the autumn.
‘We had an enormous number of people who were due to visit Jersey in March and April. While they were naturally frustrated and disappointed not to be able to take their holidays as planned, 90% of them were happy to move their holiday to the fourth quarter, when, it is hoped, travel will be back to normal and holiday prices are similar to those of the spring,’ he said.
And the willingness to visit Jersey during the historically quieter months was, Mr McGinty added, a reflection of recent innovation within the hospitality sector, which has boosted the Island’s year-round appeal as a tourist destination. ‘Up until about ten years ago, you would get to the middle of October and it was as though somebody turned a light out on Jersey, but then we had a tremendous resurgence when The Royal Yacht hotel did their fabulous upgrade, the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel arrived and other hotels upped their game commensurately. Thanks to the enhanced standard of hotels, and the number of high-quality restaurants now in the Island, autumn and winter holidays are now highly desirable, supported by Visit Jersey’s campaigns.’
With optimism high for autumn, winter and 2021 bookings, Mr McGinty said that the company’s focus would be on the short-break market, which, he added, would be of great benefit to the Island’s economy.
‘The short-break market is good because it has a high-intensity spend factor,’ he explained, ‘and our initial indications are that, as people in the UK are looking around for holiday destinations, Jersey will be a first pick because there is a feeling that it is still slightly too early to go to places like France and Spain.’
Praising the Government of Jersey and businesses within the hospitality sector for their response to the coronavirus outbreak, Mr McGinty said: The Government of Jersey has done a brilliant job, firstly protecting the Island population, and now turning its attention to the economy. The hoteliers have also been brilliant, and very positive and accommodating.
‘Before the outbreak in March, our bookings for Jersey were significantly up on last year. As we recognised that our clients still wanted to come to Jersey as soon as possible, we worked with each hotel to rebook their holidays. Without exception, every hotelier has amended those bookings to ensure that the pent-up demand is catered for, which is why I am confident that we will see an explosion in the fourth quarter.’
Trying to sweeten the disappointment experienced by visitors whose holidays have been delayed, the travel company has also partnered with a local confectionery business, Sue’s Fudge, to send its customers a taste of Jersey.
‘As well as keeping our clients informed about their bookings, and the situation in Jersey, we have been sending them some fudge, giving them a little taste of what they have to look forward to. This has been very well received, as our clients are not just buying a holiday, but are buying into Jersey’s way of life. They like the fact that when they are in the Island, they become part of the local community and enjoy the ancillary benefits that come with that,’ he said.
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