Tourism chief's alert on visitors

By Martin Neville

Saturday, January 25, 2014

 

Tourism chief's alert on visitors

David Thornton, chief executive of Visit Isle of Wight.

THE Isle of Wight must not inadvertently hit the self-destruct button in the pursuit of better ferry services, a tourism chief has warned.

As a major campaign is launched to promote plans to move Wightlink into the ownership of a community interest company (CIC), David Thornton, chief executive of Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW), speaking in a personal capacity, urged caution in the use of social media to broadcast its message.

He was referring to a video posted online by the Isle of Wight Better Ferry Campaign. in which several high-profile Islanders, including Level 42 frontman and tourism ambassador Mark King, talk about ferry fares and cuts to services.

Mr Thornton said they were now in talks with the Better Ferry team to see if they could help them in getting their message across without putting off potential visitors.

Later, in his professional capacity, he said: "The video, viewed out of context, does not present travelling to the Island as an appealing prospect, and this is my concern, especially during this very important early booking part of the holiday season.

"My number one priority is to ensure, despite all challenges, the Island presents a welcoming and attractive image to potential visitors across the globe."

However, Patrick Seely, from the campaign, said the Island would be damaged far more if they did nothing.

"Sometimes it is necessary to take short-term pain to gain a long-term reward and to have the courage to say so," he said.

VIOW is part-funded by private backers, including Wightlink and Red Funnel.

Reporter: martinn@iwcpmail.co.uk

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Displaying the last 10 of 26 comments - Show All Comments

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by neil jacks

27th January 2014, at 16:57:23

ha ha , you go to their web site to see comments like we are "being held hostage by the ferry companies".. It paints a picture of the Osprey moored outside the harbour with a 50 cal trained on any one who dare contemplate leaving.
I think ted, don and Stephen have it about right.

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by neil jacks

27th January 2014, at 16:45:46

1461 supporters, mmm, not exactly credible is it?

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by Keven Ball

26th January 2014, at 17:40:49

I can look at this whole matter in a third person's position. As I am currently living on the mainland I can see it from the mainland point of view, as I have lived on the island I understand issues from their point of view. There is no way I would pay the crazy prices to go to the island currently unless I had to, and it is hard to come off the island as the same issue applies. Until the ferry prices are revised then there is no way anything can move forward - simple!

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by alan naylor

26th January 2014, at 15:51:44

Mr Thornton d ont pay to travell to and from the mainland an island like the I O W if it cannot choose its own destiny will die or not to be the place to raise a familly Can Mr Thornton tell us why a broucher cannot be found in travell shops on the mainland

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by Don Prescott

26th January 2014, at 14:13:46

Ditto Ted & Stephen.

And Mike, "the additional cost of the ferries is stopping tourists coming to the island " - not according to Visit England research.

Parents who have cost issues (and there are serious overpricing issues) should lobby their LEAs to stagger all school holidays except for Christmas (for obvious reasons).

Problem is teachers have a nice easy life - 13/14 weeks off per annum and THEY don't want to change.

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by TED PARKER

26th January 2014, at 12:38:38

Well said Stephen...

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by Dave Dawson

26th January 2014, at 12:38:11

@owen
Any involvement that has the potential for a conflict of interest should be avoided as public perception will be the judge irrespective of size of organisation. Google the DMO and VIOW to look at the list of board members and their other interests

The last regime did away with the Islands tourist activities transferring the responsibility to the DMO. It is only my opinion but the rush to transfer responsibility is partly to blame as vital objectives and milestones may have been missed.

Tourism accounts for over 30% of the Islands economy and must be supported, I was startled to hear that a miniscule amount of the £500, 000 paid to them by the council (us) was actually spent on the Island.

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by Stephen Elliott

26th January 2014, at 12:35:23

Here's a solution. If you think the ferry companies charge too much (which they obviously do) and that it impacts on your life to such an extent that you have become mentally affected, then I would suggest you vacate the island and emigrate to the mainland. It's the fact we are separated from the mainland that creates a beautiful place to live. No one is forcing you to stay!

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by Mike Rogers

26th January 2014, at 12:23:39

I accept everyone rips tourists off come summer holidays whether it is a UK holiday or foreign one but my point is the unlike other tourist areas the additional cost of the ferries is stopping tourists coming to the island which is the life blood of the IOW economy.

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by Owen Burson

26th January 2014, at 11:37:29

Morning Dave,

I'm intrigued by your statement that the DMO need to clean up their acts and that their are conflicts of interest, may I ask what you mean by that?

Similarly, why is it concerning to you that major attractions are in positions of influence? Are minor attractions also in positions of influence and is that acceptable?

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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