Halfway through the ten-day exhibition – which is being held in the ExCel Centre in London’s Docklands for the first time – the Channel Islands stand has generated a lot of interest from yachtsmen visiting the 50th, and largest ever, show.
The organisers have spent an additional £2m this year to attract people to the show and it certainly seems to have worked,’ said Harbours chief executive Capt Brian Nibbs, who has recently returned to Jersey after manning the stand last week.
‘We are just a rope’s throw away from the Royal Navy and RNLI stands, so we’re positioned right in the middle of the action.
Our new 22-page brochure – which includes all the islands for the first time – has been warmly received.
Although yachtsmen on the whole rarely respond to a hard sell and like to mull things over, we are hopeful that the brochure – together with our presence at the show – will give them the confidence to cross the Channel and discover what our islands have to offer.
The Channel Islands stand is being manned by the tourism and harbours departments of Jersey and Guernsey.
The £20,000 cost of the pitch has also been split four ways.
Recent research shows that the marine industry in Jersey is growing by nine per cent a year,’ said Capt Nibbs.
‘It was worth around £27m in 2001 and yet requires no subsidy.
It does, however, demand water-side space and this has been addressed in our 20-year port masterplan, which caters for the expected growth.
Meanwhile, a new revenue stream for Jersey Harbours is being explored.
Capt Nibbs is currently talking to the marine authority in Dubai over the possibility of the Island registering yachts based in the Gulf emirate.
Our initial contact was made through Jersey Finance Ltd, the industry’s promotional body, which has visited the region for the last two years,’ he said.
‘Dubai was looking to set up their own ship registry but we have shown them that it would make a lot more sense to use Jersey.
It is an exciting development for us.