Friday, 24 August 2018

This is Jersey - 1979 - Part 6

From 1979 comes this holiday guide - "This is Jersey". This is a flat brochure which is larger that the later glossy designs, and it doesn't have nearly as many pages - 16 double sided in all, including front and back covers.

It does provide a very interesting snapshot of the tourism scene in 1979, just as it was more or less at its peak, just before Bergerac launched, and before the package tour market and cheap holiday destinations abroad made Jersey's prices suddenly more expensive and the bottom fell out of the market.

Tourism is today rebuilding a new approach geared to the lifestyle of the modern tourist. It still has plenty to offer, but the old style of tourism probably won't sell today. But here's a chance to capture that flavour.

The hydrofoil was for two decades at the forefront of fast ferry innovation, until the catamaran stole its thunder. Thomas Muller notes:

"The hydrofoil made its first appearance in British waters when in 1964, new Jersey-based ferry operator Condor Ferries decided it would compete with the established Channel ferry companies by investing in this fast ferry technology. It proved a shrewd move, the Italian built PT50 named ‘Condor 1’ proved an immediate hit with passengers travelling between the Channel Islands of Jersey, Guernsey and Sark and the Brittany port of St Malo. Between its maiden year of 1964 and 1966, passenger numbers grew from 10,000 to over 60,000."

"However, the hydrofoil’s niche role was not to last. The early 90s saw a new craft appear on the scene that combined its speed with generous capacity and passenger comforts. The catamaran was the new fast ferry on the block, and it made the hydrofoil look outdated very fast. Not surprisingly, the progressive ferry company Condor was quick to discard the old guard in favour the new wave piercing catamaran."

"The limitations of the hydrofoil were bound to seal its fate sooner or later. It may be quick but beyond that there wasn’t much for the ferry passenger to savour."

"There are few comforts on board, for instance. Most unappealingly it adopts one of the worst aspects of aeroplane design; consigning passengers to sit in close quarters in a confined cabin, when the freedom that most ferries offer the passenger is one of the highlights of sea travel. In addition to that it also wasn’t able to cope well in bad weather conditions, and services were often cancelled."

Mind you, the current batch of fast ferries still has trouble in that respect!!

But the great advantage of the hydrofoil for Channel Island waters was that it could go places larger craft could not. I remember a trip to Sark and a trip to Alderney by hydrofoil. There is still a ferry direct to Sark, but not as fast, and there is no longer a direct boat to Alderney. The nippy hydrofoil could offer fast speeds, and the opportunity for day trippers to get the most out of their day. Less than an hour to Sark, not more than that to Alderney. Isn't it a shame we actually have less opportunities now?

Alderney I recall travelling alone with a school friend. And it really was "easy to get to". Now it is hard to get to, hard to leave, and expensive to travel to and from Jersey.

Preston Travel for decades provided tour operator services via Condor until its parent company went bust. Here are a few way stations of that demise.

February 2014

Jersey Tourism is working with Channel Island tour operators to help holidaymakers following an announcement that Preston Travel Group has ceased trading.

UK-based Preston Travel has been operating to the Channel Islands since the 1960s. It was the largest tour operator bringing visitors into Jersey. Its insolvency will affect local transport and accommodation services.

Director of Jersey Tourism, David de Carteret said ‘We are working closely with our other Channel Island tour operators to ensure that affected clients have alternative packages in place to so that they can rebook their breaks to the Island.’

May 2014

A defunct travel company that brought 20,000 visitors per year to Jersey will be relaunched under new ownership.

Preston Travel went out of business in February but its assets have been bought by UK-based 3X Travel, which will be rebranded as Preston Holidays.

Herm is and was a gem, and that's largely down to the vision of Peter Wood and in 1979, he was still running the Island although he and his wife Jenny would hand this over to their son-in-law Adrian Heyworth and daughter Pennie in 1980.

Here's a bit of Herbert Winterflood 's obituary for him in the Independent:

"PETER WOOD brought joy to thousands of people by transforming one of the smallest of the Channel Islands into a mini paradise. As the tenant of Herm Island he saw his vision of a small, self-supporting community become a reality. A 15-minute boat ride from Guernsey, Herm has one hotel, self-catering cottages, a campsite and no cars. Here visitors from near and far find peace and tranquillity."

"Peter Wood acquired the tenancy of Herm after the war and, with his wife Jenny, worked closely with the States of Guernsey to improve its standards."

"At the outset they looked at some of the ruins on Herm and believed that they had the tenacity to transform the place into a holiday retreat. While their young played on the beaches, the parents set about creating their dream. A working farm was established, telephone communications set-up and the Manor House and St Tugual's Chapel restored. Their hard work was rewarded by boatloads of day trippers arriving from Guernsey."


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