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It is difficult to pinpoint when Jersey's tourism industry began, but it was probably in the early years of the 19th century as people intending to make a permanent move to the island came to inspect their future home. The industry grew steadily through the century and into the 20th century as travel links to the island improved, and from the 1920s onwards, interruped by the Second World War, it grew into the main contributor to the island's economy and the major influence on the community.

The links below lead to articles tracing the development of every aspect of the tourism boom, which only began to wane in the final decade of the 20th century, as cheap air travel brought distant destinations within easy and affordable reach of British holidaymakers and Jersey's 'South Sea Isle' began to lose the battle with other destinations able to offer even better weather and new attractions.


The charabanc may not have been invented in Jersey, but the open carriage, drawn by horses, was for many people associated with Jersey, where, long before the days of the railway and the motor car, it provided the means of visiting the beautiful bays and countryside of their holiday destination. These were the times when an outing in an 'excursion car' meant dressing up in one's finest apparel, and hats were de rigeur for men and ladies.

Battle of Flowers

Although the Jersey Battle of Flowers started in 1902 as a purely local celebration of the Coronation of King Edward VII, it soon became a major attraction for visitors to the island. Interrupted by both World Wars, the Battle of Flowers was revived, firstly in Springfield Stadium, and again at its original venue on Victoria Avenue, and it continues to this day as a celebration of all that is best in Jersey's tradition of voluntary participation in community activities which have brought fame and no little fortune to a holiday island over more than a century.

Images of a holiday island in 1888

By the Edwardian era Jersey's tourism industry was booming, as people from England and France sought out the attractions of a low-cost, warm and sunny holiday venue. Many postcards and photographs of the time survive, but the delightful drawings of the island by French artist 'Mars', in his book on the beaches of Brittany and Jersey published in 1912 create one of the most enduring impressions of the carefree life of a holiday island a century ago.

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