A NEW tourism body for the Isle of Wight will be officially launched on Thursday, when plans for the future of the industry will be on the agenda.
The Isle of Wight Destination Management Organisation, Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW), will be unveiled at an invite-only event at Osborne House.
The organisation is partly funded by the Isle of Wight Council, with financial backing from the private sector, including Wightlink, Red Funnel, Blackgang Chine and Robin Hill.
VIOW chief executive David Thornton, a former head of marketing for Visit Peak District and Derbyshire, said: "We will announce a list of immediate actions to ensure that the Isle of Wight stands out as a must-see place to visit in 2013 and beyond.
"It’s been a very busy first four weeks of the organisation, and now it’s time to share what we’ve learnt and expect to achieve."
High profile Islanders and business people have been invited to the event including Michelin-starred chef Robert Thompson, Bestival curator Rob da Bank and IW Festival organiser John Giddings.
James Berresford, chief executive of the national tourist board Visit England, will be among the guests of honour.
He said: "The launch of Visit Isle of Wight is an exciting occasion, and we at Visit England will do all we can to support this new organisation.
"We have worked with David in his previous role, and look forward to working with him to develop a destination of distinction that can bring economic benefit to everyone who lives and works on the Island."
George Brown, IW Council cabinet member with responsibility for tourism said: "The council believes that the tourism industry is best placed to shape its own future and direction which is why we moved to create a private sector-led destination management organisation.
"I am greatly impressed with what Visit Isle of Wight has been able to achieve in only a few weeks and am confident that it will continue to grow from strength to strength.
"The Isle of Wight Council has committed substantial funds to the organisation which I consider to be money well spent in terms of supporting efforts to maintain the Isle of Wight as a first class and year-round visitor destination."
A week-long programme of drop-in tourism briefings for tourism providers across the Island will start on Monday at the Quay Arts Centre in Newport.