Tourism plan 'destined to succeed'

By Martin Neville

Thursday, November 15, 2012

 

Tourism plan 'destined to succeed'

From left, Jill Harlow, destination data officer, Oli Whitehurst, web editor, David Thornton, chief executive and and Liz Walker, tourism development. Picture by Laura Holme.

PLANS to attract an extra 300,000 visitors a year to the Isle of Wight have been announced today (Thursday) by the new man at the helm of tourism.

Speaking at the official launch of new tourist board Visit Isle of Wight, its chief executive David Thornton revealed some of the ideas he hopes will encourage more holidaymakers to visit the Island.

The plans have already had support from the man in charge of promoting tourism in England, James Berresford — chief executive of Visit England — who said they were destined for success.

Mr Thornton said: "Visit Isle of Wight hopes to generate new visitor growth for the whole Island, which means engaging with shrinking markets and digging deeper to uncover more opportunities.

"Our number one priority is to encourage more people to come here, over a longer year, bolstering and widening peak periods while building troughs up to create a smoother curve of visitors across the year."

Mr Thornton announced Ventnor Michelin starred chef Robert Thompson, Radio 1 DJ and Bestival curator Rob Da Bank, and eco-fashion label co-founder Rob Drake-Knight, as the Isle of Wight’s first "media ambassadors."

They will promote the Island at media briefings and mainland events, including the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham where Mr Thompson will promote the Isle of Wight food and drink to some 100,000 people.

Mr Thompson named Hovertravel and English Heritage as Visit Isle of Wight’s latest private sector investors, each contributing £10,000 a year, and revealed plans to create a Visit Isle of Wight office at Osborne House.

He said he wanted to reconnect with what he described as "the UK value driven holiday market — the honest worker who has seen their pay shrink, has real worries about the future, but feels under pressure to deliver a great holiday experience for their family."

He said: "It’s time to return to Treasure Island, Captain Sunshine and great family holidays in a place that feels a little like being abroad but is just four miles from the mainland."

Among those to attend the launch was Visit England chief executive James Berresford who has backed the project.

After the launch Mr Berresford said on Twitter: "A passionate board, a determined CEO and a local authority willing to commit for nine years — Visit Isle of Wight is destined to succeed."

Other ideas highlighted by Mr Thornton to boost tourism included:

• Merging the existing Islandbreaks.co.uk and gowight.com websites to create an official tourism portal, to be known as VisitWight and launched on Valentines Day next year.

• Extensive early promotion of events and festivals that have the largest potential to attract off-Island visitors.

• Harnessing the potential of the Island’s landscape, working with the AONB Partnership and the National Trust.

• Taking a thematic approach to marketing — food and drink, heritage and royalty, retro chic, sport and adventure.

• Extending the holiday season through projects like Robin Hill’s Electric Wood event, held during the October half-term.

• Having 'welcome ambassadors’ on ferries to greet people as they travel over, telling them about what’s happening on the Island, and other useful information.

• Promoting the Island as a film location.

• Exploring opportunities for educational breaks.

• An Isle of Music campaign to enhance the Island’s reputation for music.

Reporter: martinn@iwcpmail.co.uk

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by Susannah Thornton

16th November 2012, at 12:59:49

As a Tourist who has visited the beautiful Island for the past ten years consecutively, I won't be visiting again in 2013 unfortunately. As everyone says the Ferry fares are now too extortionate, but also the Island has over the years become less and less attractive to the Tourist. The toilets, if open, are disgusting, need cleaning and refurbishing. Prices, albeit like the mainland too, have increased for attractions and value for money is just not there. I'm going to miss not seeing the places I love, the Island I hoped to one day buy property on, but back in the real world its not feasible for me anymore either financially or for what is there. Sorry IOW, I will miss you and hope maybe one day to return.

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by David Howarth

16th November 2012, at 12:31:39

Excellent news. The Island landscape is the biggest attraction for tourists. The network of footpaths and cycle ways must be developed to encourage more use by people of all abilities. A new coastal path is a must.
There must also be a recognition that people take shorter UK holidays and the addition of expensive ferry fares is a real deterrent to these shorter visits.

It is important that Islanders support these initiatives and not just criticise. We will all see the benefits of better bus routes and information systems.

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by Mike Crowe

16th November 2012, at 07:27:21

How will all these thousand of people get here? On the backs of the Flying Pigs?

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by Kevin Barclay-Jay

16th November 2012, at 01:53:18

Anybody can come up with a list of maybes...but until anybody spends more tha tuppence ha'penny on attractions we will never get the families back. The Island is a shambles for tourists..a situation ably assisted by our awful council

The ferry price for tourists wouldn't be an issue if there was something worthwhile here for them to do

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by alan naylor

15th November 2012, at 20:42:36

Thats great news Mr Thornton but where are all these holiday makers going to pee when they are out of there hotel enviroment and them that are open are not clean

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by david wright

15th November 2012, at 19:18:20

Total waste of time! As soon as prospective tourists go to book the ferry if there is actually one running at a time they want to come over they will reel in horror at the exorbitant ,unrealistic,daylight robbery fare and go somewhere else!!! Many holiday makers who have come here for years now go elsewhere as the ferry is just too expensive!!! Wightlink dont see it but it is a fact.Ad that to that,run down high streets and shops and attractions, poor road sweeping,closed Tourist information offices and toilets and i wouldn't come here if they paid me! Don't get me wrong i love the IOW but too many people in positions of power have taken the money in high wages and not reinvested so the infrastructure is now dilapidated and not attractive at all.The IOW is in danger of pricing itself out of existance because of the ferry rather like a rubbish shop that charged you £150 entrance fee. Would you go in???

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by david williams

15th November 2012, at 18:14:01

i cant believe these people dont see the bigger picture, more people would come to the island if the ferry companies didnt charge exorbitant amount of money to get over here, no wonder people would rather go abroad

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by david williams

15th November 2012, at 18:14:01

i cant believe these people dont see the bigger picture, more people would come to the island if the ferry companies didnt charge exorbitant amount of money to get over here, no wonder people would rather go abroad

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by Stephen Elliott

15th November 2012, at 17:31:36

Oh n no doubt the ferry companies will raise there prices to cash in on these extra 300,000 people.

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by Stephen Elliott

15th November 2012, at 17:30:28

Indeed Tony, personally I wouldn't come here if I didn't live here.

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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