More about Jersey

A Perfect Place for Business and Pleasure

An island which appears small but beats larger ones with its sheer beauty, nostalgic past and picturesque scenery is something that amazes visitors to this popular destination. Jersey, which is only 22km away from the coast of France and 135km from the south of mainland Britain, gives you a perfect location for both business and pleasure. The island, which measures just 118 sq km, is an excellent place to do business and unwind. This winning combination, together with its many amenities, makes it attractive to both tourists as well as business people. Jersey has a population of 87,700 out of which 12,000 are professionally trained staff working within finance and support industries.

A jewel of an island, Jersey has kept its sparkle by maintaining its unique heritage despite the winds of change. It is steeped in a wealth of heritage, tradition and culture that has shaped the island into the dynamic destination it is today. The island has proudly faced many challenges in the past and continues to seek opportunities. English is the main language but many European languages are also spoken here due to its cosmopolitan nature.

Background

Jersey's history is fascinating and complex. The influences of both Britain and France are greatly felt on this island which started its independent existence 800 years ago. Jersey was a French territory until 1066 after which the Channel Islands chose allegiance to the British Crown and it has since remained a loyal British Crown Dependency. It is thus not surprising to find many places with French names and a second 'Jersey-French' language. Jersey experienced a growing number of English speaking families in the island after the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. It became one of Britain's major sailing ship building businesses and launched over 900 vessels.

The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by German forces during the Second World War. Many fortifications remain and now prove popular with international historians and visitors. On 9 May 1945, the islands were liberated and their economy and prosperity grew. Agriculture became increasingly important while tourism grew rapidly and remains one of the main sectors next to Jersey's tremendous success as an international financial centre. Jersey's rich history and culture has molded it into a cosmopolitan and sophisticated society open to all opportunities and challenges.

Politics

Jersey enjoys certain rights and privileges for its loyalty to the British Crown and among them was becoming self-governing.

Jersey's parliament is called the States and is one of the oldest legislatures. The States comprises the Bailiff (President of the Assembly), the Lieutenant-Governor, 12 Senators, 12 Connétables, 29 Deputies, the Dean of Jersey, the Attorney General and the Solicitor General. Jersey is divided into 12 parishes, all with access to the sea. Each parish is presided over by the elected head of parish, the Connétable, on issues relating to civil matters and by the Rector on issues relating to ecclesiastical affairs.

Jersey is part of the British Isles but has not become a member of the EU.

Jersey's 12 parishes are:

St HelierSt BreladeSt Ouen
St MartinSt JohnSt Mary
TrinitySt SaviourGrouville
St ClementSt LawrenceSt Peter

St Helier, the island's capital, is the most populous parish and busiest town. The main shopping centre is also located here. It is named after the Island's first and most famous saint who lived and preached in Jersey in the 8th century.

Economy

Jersey's economy has evolved from a community traditionally reliant on agriculture, boat building, fishing and knitwear to tourism and finance. The British pound and Jersey pound (valued 1:1) form its retail currency, with all major currencies accepted for financial transactions.

Finance

Although the finance industry did not exist before 1962, it now provides 55% of the island's GDP and 60% of government tax income. There are now 55 banks and over 33,000 registered companies in Jersey. The industry is attractive due to Jersey's stable government, proximity to both UK and Europe and the low taxes in Jersey. Since Napoleonic times very rich individuals have been attracted to Jersey's low income tax. Jersey's Gross National Income (GNI) per capita is amongst the highest in the world. In 2005, Jersey's GNI was GBP 3.2 billion. The financial services sector (banking, trust and fund administration and management, accountancy and legal activities) now accounts for just over half of all economic activity in Jersey and employs almost a quarter of the workforce. For more details see Jersey - The International Finance Centre.

Tourism

Tourism contributes about 25% of the island's GDP with a total of 752,000 visitors in 2005, spending about GBP 220 million. The tourism sector contributes about GBP 10 million in direct tax revenue and supports 7,250 jobs. The largest groups of visitors come from the UK and it is also a popular destination for those from Germany, France and the other Channel Islands. Jersey offers an array of world class hotels with excellent facilities, a variety of restaurants and bars and a lively night life. There are about 160 registered establishments providing accommodation of 11,967 bed spaces and 4 campsites that can provide for 1,250 persons.

Agriculture

Jersey's agricultural industry began to flourish with the development of the Jersey cow and the Jersey Royal New Potato. The Jersey cow evolved by selective breeding during the first half of the 19th century and a steady export business grew as a result of international recognition of the quality of the breed. The Jersey cow is an important part of Jersey's living heritage and is the trademark of the skill of cattle breeders down the centuries. In 1879, Hugh de la Haye grew the first Jersey Royal New Potato and within 10 years, over 65,000 tons were shipped out to the English market. Today agriculture provides 5% of the island's GDP. Major exports include a range of dairy products associated with the Jersey cow, Jersey Royal potatoes, a wide range of market garden crops and flowers.

Education

Education is of paramount importance to Jersey's government and the people of Jersey. The education system in Jersey is of a very high standard and is based on the UK's national curriculum. The Education Department provides education to some 10,500 school children. There are 23 primary schools (including 10 nursery units), five secondary schools and a choice of private schools as well. There are no universities in Jersey and so pupils must continue their higher education in the UK or elsewhere. However, further education is provided within the island at Highlands College of Further Education which offers a wide variety of academic and vocational courses and adult education courses.

Entry/Visa Requirements

British citizens and citizens of the Irish Republic do not require passports or entry visas for travel between their respective countries and Jersey. Other EU citizens require only their ID cards for travel to Jersey. Citizens from non-EU countries will need a passport and should check if a visa is required.

Interesting Facts

  • There are many historic sites including war tunnels and forts built to keep out the French and to house the British Garrison during the Napoleonic wars
  • Dolmen du Faldouet, an unusual 'passage' grave, can be found here
  • The world's largest steam clock which stands in St Helier's entered the record books in 1997
  • La Hougue Bie, a Neolithic burial chamber made of earth, limpet shells and rubble was built here about 3,000 BC
  • Since 1827 the Giant Cabbage, which grows up to 3m tall, has been cultivated on this island
  • La Cotte de St Brelade is one of the most important Paleolithic sites in Europe
  • Remnants of a great French forest that existed over 10,000 years ago, when Jersey was part of the continent, can be seen at St Ouen during a low tide
  • Due to its unique position in the Bay of St Malo the island grows and shrinks twice a day and produces one of the highest tidal ranges in the world
  • Jersey's vineyard produces three varieties of wine
  • It is renowned for its pottery in the making of ceramic tableware and decorative pieces
  • A unique exhibition of plants, "The Royal Family of Plants", in a series of glasshouses can be seen here
  • It is sanctuary to a remarkable collection of exotic creatures, some of which can only be found in Jersey at a unique conservation and breeding centre
  • An interesting coastal landscape with wooded valleys, rolling dunes, towering cliffs and hidden caves is part of this nature island
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