While it’s unlikely that Jersey will ever feature in a Club 18-30 brochure, it is beginning to attract a younger crowd. Operators are reporting a rise in clients in their 30s and 40s visiting the island for short breaks.
It makes sense. Just a 40-minute flight from Gatwick – and with air links to just about every regional airport through the likes of Flybe, Jet2, BA, Bmibaby and easyJet – access is swift and easy.
For those who’d like to go by sea, Condor Ferries operates car and passenger services from Poole and Weymouth, with fast ferries crossing in just over three hours.
Jersey’s location, nestled in the Gulf of St Malo between the coasts of Brittany and Normandy, brings better weather than much of the British mainland can expect. And its proximity to France, great food and cafe culture lends it a continental air – but with the English language and currency.
As the euro has hovered around parity with the pound, weekend jaunts to Europe have become less affordable.
Consumers have been reminded of all the island has to offer by a marketing campaign from Jersey Tourism, with TV adverts running earlier this year. A recent special about Jersey on ITV1’s Countrywise, plus name checks on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen by guest chefs from the island’s Michelin-starred restaurants, can’t have hurt either.
Specialist operator Preston Holidays ran its own TV adverts in May too, and saw bookings that month rise by 21%.
Regular investment in the island’s bedstock means quality is good across the range.
Jersey’s bread-and-butter older market is well-catered for by a wealth of two and three-star hotels, many offering entertainment three or four nights a week. For younger, short-break clients, there are four-star options with well-developed spas, plus two five-stars.
The family market has plenty of self-catering options to choose from, including The Merton Suites, which opened last month. All 28 suites have kitchen facilities and balconies, and can interconnect for larger family groups. Guests have access to the adjacent Merton Hotel’s facilities, which include a water park.
Many clients prefer to stay in the capital St Helier, a pretty town with a wealth of shopping and dining options. However, there are also choices in St Brelade’s Bay, St Aubin and in other rural corners. With cheap car hire and an excellent, easy-to-use public transport system, getting around is no problem.
Channel Islands specialist Preston Holidays gets 85% of its business through agents. Its brochures can be overbranded, and the company can help with training, local marketing events, and agents’ own trips. For more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Premier Holidays runs fam trips to the island. It sends a weekly newsletter of special offers out to agents, all of which can be downloaded as mini-posters for shop windows. To sign up to receive the newsletter, email email@example.com.
Preston Holidays has an exclusive offer with the four-star St Brelade’s Bay Hotel, offering three nights in September from £375 by sea and £399 by air, with half board for half price – a saving of £96 per couple. Book on 0844 770 0440.
Premier Holidays offers four nights’ bed and breakfast at the three-star Mayfair Hotel. Packages by sea start from £199 as a foot passenger from Weymouth, and by air from Gatwick from £279, on selected dates in October and including transfers. Travel in September costs an extra £63. Book on trade.premierholidays.co.uk 0844 493 7444.
Beverley Scarr, short-haul general manager, Premier Holidays
“It’s a great island for foodies, with gastropubs and trendy bistros as well as Michelin-starred restaurants.
One of my favourite spots is St Brelade’s Bay, where there are two or three really nice places overlooking the sea. There’s the smart Oyster Box, with the more informal Crab Shack next door, and what must be the Pizza Express with the best views in Britain.
There are lovely bike rides too. The Corbiere Cycle track runs from St Aubin to the Corbiere lighthouse, along an old railway track, so it’s easy and safe with no cars. And there’s a lovely restaurant awaiting cyclists at the end.”
John Markham, sales and marketing director, Preston Holidays
“There are so many hidden bays and coves to explore, and car hire is really reasonable. It’s only nine miles by five miles, so you’re never more than 15 minutes from the capital or the coast.
Visitors shouldn’t miss the Gerald Durrell Wildlife Park, or the Jersey War Tunnels. The Channel Islands were the only part of the UK occupied by the Germans during the Second World War, and it’s a really interesting interactive exhibition, great for kids and adults alike.
We offer the Jersey Pass, which gives access to all major attractions, for periods of two, four or six days. For holidays of six nights or more, we offer two Jersey Passes for the price of one – £59.”
Jersey: An agent’s opinion
Gail Herring, Travel Counsellors, Halifax
I went on a fam trip with Premier Holidays in May. I’d expected it to be green and beautiful and suited to older visitors, and it is all these things, but there’s more to it.
I’m an outdoor person, and I loved the zipwire at the Creepy Valley Activity Centre and the Durrell Wildlife Park. I’d sell it to families now, and it’s on my list for short breaks too, with convenient flights from Manchester and Leeds.
The hotels were of a good standard. We stayed at the Merton, a great family three-star, which has indoor and outdoor pools and a FlowRider. The five-star Grand has an amazing location on St Brelade’s Bay.
The weather was gorgeous on our visit – we could have been in the south of France. I’d never been to the Channel Islands before but the trip has really given me confidence to book.
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