Event-led tourism is seen by many jurisdictions as an important part of their tourism strategy. For some time the further development of event-led tourism has been cited as an important element of the renaissance of Jersey’s visitor economy. In this context, “events” include a broad range of sporting, cultural and more traditional tourist events such as the Battle of Flowers, the International Air Display and the recent Festival of Words. In addition the definition of events includes festivals, exhibitions, trade shows, conferences and incentive travel. All events have the potential to enhance the island’s product offering and/or attract new visitors to Jersey.

Anyone who experienced the 2015 NatWest Island Games could not fail to be impressed by the scale of the event, the excellent organisation and, above all, the “buzz” created by more than 3,000 competitors from 24 islands competing in 14 sports across the island. This was, by any measure, the latest example of Jersey showing that the island is capable of hosting large scale events.  Of course success is not simply measured in terms of an event itself. All those who competed in or attended the NatWest Island Games, stayed in accommodation, ate in restaurants, shopped in our stores and used public transport. In doing so they injected significant amounts of additional expenditure into the local economy producing additional economic benefits and GST receipts that would not have been realised if the Games had not taken place.

I am pleased to say that in June 2016, Jersey will host an even larger event, the Dance World Cup (‘DWC’). The DWC is an international dance competition for children and young adults aged 25 and under. Competitors from around the world will compete in a variety of dance genres including ballet, tap and hip hop. The finals, which are held at a different location every year, attract 3,000 competitors accompanied by 200 teachers, parents and supporters from 30 countries including Japan, Malaysia and Australia. The 2016 event, which will be held at Fort Regent is expected to bring over £1.5 million of additional spend into the economy and, once again, put Jersey on the map as a major events destination.

Sports-related tourism has an important role to play in our future. The Jersey Marathon goes from strength to strength, Jersey Rugby Club attracts thousands of visitors each season and the success of our men’s and women’s football teams, our netball teams, our hockey teams, our swimmers and cyclists in addition to schools and other sports clubs and societies has added to the impact of sports tourism. Building on the success of the NatWest Island Games, Jersey has made a successful bid to hold another high-profile international sporting event. The 11th European Touch Championships will be held in July 2016 at Les Quennevais Sports Fields, potentially bringing more than 900 players in 50 teams from 16 nations to the Island in addition to support staff and supporters. Touch is a fast growing sport in Europe. It is often referred to as Touch Rugby, but there is no tackling, lineouts, scrummaging or kicking involved. This makes it appealing to a wide range of ages and abilities, from juniors to masters and from slight to heavy builds. It is played by men’s, women’s and mixed teams. Countries expected to compete in this truly international event include Belgium, Catalonia, England, France, Germany, Guernsey, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, and Wales.

In 2016 we plan to work with event organisers to further enhance the Battle of Flowers, the Air Display, the Festival of Words and other events in addition to building upon the success of the NatWest Island Games and developing new exciting events in the Jersey calendar. Shortly we will be asking for expressions of interest from individuals or businesses to work with EDD and Visit Jersey to further develop event led tourism under an “Events Jersey” banner. With a dedicated team and budget, we will enhance existing events, secure new exciting events and make Jersey a leading “events island.”

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