A MAJOR fall in the number of beds available to tourists could damage Jersey’s airline connectivity if the issue is not addressed, according to the Chamber of Commerce.
Writing in the business pages of today’s JEP, Chamber chief executive Murray Norton warns that the wider impact of not having a viable number of beds for the tourism and hospitality sector ‘should not be underestimated’.
The Island has lost several hotels – including the Stafford, Revere and Apollo – recently, often to make way for residential developments as the Island struggles to meet the demand for affordable homes.
Mr Norton said: ‘In the heydays of the 1980s there were some 25,000 beds available to tourists. Today the total figure is around 9,000. The number of those filled by employees and consultants rather than tourists is unknown but is thought to be around 2,000, leaving about 7,000 for tourists.’
Robert Mackenzie, chair of the Chamber’s tourism, venues and attractions committee, said: ‘The loss of beds overall in the last few decades and certainly in the last few years, is a real concern for the industry as a whole.’
He added that it could impact the Island’s connectivity, given that a significant number of airline passengers would be tourists.
‘If the airlines cannot fill the seats on their flights, then they will look at either cutting back on capacity, or removing routes entirely,’ he continued.
‘We need to work together with government and the industry [to come up with a solution] and that is what we are doing.’