LETTERS From Willemina Hagenauw, Bembridge:
IT is all too easy to blame the bad weather and the economic crisis for the declining numbers of visitors to the Island (CP, 31-08-12).
The hard reality is that the simply ludicrous decision to close all tourist information centres last year, and cutting back on investing in tourism, is now having its devastating consequences.
What was the council thinking of?
Any business — and at the end of the day the IW is a big business selling tourism — knows marketing, advertising and a positive customer experience are the essential tools to get visitors in and keep them coming back.
The Island has to get its act together to ensure visitors feel welcome, have the facilities they need, get the holiday experience they are hoping for and go back home with the feeling they have had value for money and tell their family and friends.
The council has its role to play in this, but it also has to be a joint effort of all businesses offering tourism on the Island.
It means pubs, restaurants and cafes need to offer good food for affordable prices, visitor attractions must make it financially viable for families to visit them, beaches have to be clean and safe, signposting has to be clear, and maybe the Island could also stop building houses in lovely areas and put more effort in developing whatever beautiful countryside is left on the Island.
The bad figures of the last year are not a surprise, they are just the result of actions by the council that everybody with an ounce of business sense could have and has predicted.
• More letters on this topic in the Friday, September 7, County Press.