Keith Beecham spoke out after RBS principal economist Stephen Blackman said he was ‘surprised’ that Jersey was not doing better at attracting visitors, as he said the Island had the right assets for experience-based tourism, where holidaymakers seek out new experiences while they are away, typically healthy activities.
Speaking at a Chamber of Commerce lunch earlier this week, Mr Blackman described himself as a ‘critical friend’ and said that the fashion for experience-based holidays, while ‘growing elsewhere’, was not in Jersey.
Mr Beecham said he agreed that trends had changed in recent years, with more tourists moving away from traditional sight-seeing holidays to seek new experiences when they travelled.
He added that ‘wellness’ breaks and activities such as yoga classes on the beach could boost Jersey’s tourism industry.
‘I think around the world, particularly in developed places such as America, Europe and Asia, people are looking for more experience-type holidays,’ Mr Beecham said.
‘It has replaced the idea of going somewhere just so you can say you have been there, which is things like going to the Eiffel Tower or London.
‘People are looking more for an experience when they travel. They are also more likely to take shorter breaks – to get away for a weekend or a couple of days midweek.’
Mr Beecham added that Jersey had the advantage of being a short flight from the UK.
‘I think that experience-based tourism is something that Jersey can deliver very competitively,’ he said.
‘The word you hear more and more is “wellness” breaks and you are increasingly seeing things like beach yoga becoming popular.
‘And we are ideal for people who want to come for a short break. People are more and more starting to take three or four short breaks per year.’