February is a month that seems to fly by each year. Even though we have the additional leap-year day in 2012, we are now almost into March and in less than 4 weeks the clocks will be going forward and summer will be on the way.
We are now getting a clearer picture of the year ahead and the challenges of the current market. It’s clear that the UK economy is affecting confidence generally in the travel industry with most large tour operators attempting to put some positive spin on challenging trading conditions. Every year presents different issues – but the combination of the Diamond Jubilee, the UEFA European Cup and of course the London Olympics provide more ‘interruptions’ to the year than is normally the case.
With uncertainty in Euro-zone, sterling is struggling to keep it’s value and has fallen back already this year from 1.22 to the current level of 1.18. This coupled with increased prices and taxation will make holidaying in Europe more expensive in 2012. Jersey & Guernsey will benefit from this. Our message to our hotel partners in the islands is to ensure we continue to provide excellent value for money – that does not necessarily mean the cheapest but good quality at competitive prices. Something we are all striving to achieve.
Despite tough market conditions, we are delighted to have announced the launch of a new air route from Cambridge to Jersey which will operate each Saturday from 12 May to 15 September. Part of our business success is due to the regional routes we operate from the UK and as with our other services, the combination of ease of access, a stress-free experience at the airport and competitively-priced holidays will attract many people to fly from Cambridge this summer. We look forward to welcoming our first passengers in May.
Last week I took part in a presentation to Jersey’s States members – the equivalent of MP’s in the UK. We wanted to stress to them the importance of the tourism industry to the island and the need to continue to provide support. The world is a smaller place with access to many more tourism destinations than was the case 10 years ago and we need to fight harder for our share of the tourism market. The feedback was encouraging, but as always we hope to see words matched by deeds.