Aspirational but Lacking Targets

The Liberal Vannin has welcomed the DfE’s new Tourism Strategy, but has challenged the gov to deliver to deliver 400,000 visitors by 2025.

That would be some achievement since the last regular year, 2019, saw 330,000 visitors to the island.

Under its plan, the gov wants to reach 500,000 tourists to the island a year by 2032.

The party said that there are a number of challenges which the gov itself identified in its plan, but gave no real indication as to how it would be resolving these issues.

Amongst these problems is the perception that travel to and from the island is expensive.

While the party acknowledges that the document references this, it added that it ‘provides no indication as to how this is to be addressed, other than a reference to “develop and market ferry-inclusive packaged holidays to the Island”‘.

It added: ‘Such a development is to be welcomed, but the government now owns the ferry service and has also shown that it is willing to subsidise air links for business travel. If it is serious about tackling the costs of travel on and off the island, then it should conduct market research on a cost/benefit of analysis of reducing fares, particularly over the off-season months (November – March).’

USPs

Steam trains, life at a slower pace, getting out into nature, fresh air and wonderful coasts. Now you may think that those are things listed on Visit Isle of Man’s website, but no they actually came from Visit Cornwall.

That is another issue the Lib Vannin Party highlighted, what we count as our Unique Selling Points are ‘not usps at all’. They added: ‘Apart from the TT, perhaps our only other usp is that we have a range of attractions to offer in one small location. That is what we need to market.’

As a way of aiding with the the difficulty of recruiting staff, the Lib Vannin Party is calling on the tourism and hospital sectors to receive a pay rise ‘with the Manx Living Wage as a minimum’.

Party chair Paul Weatherall said: ‘This whole document is aspirational in tone, rather than indicating key measures expected to achieve results. Nevertheless, Liberal Vannin looks forward to visitor targets and spend increasing steadily over the next 10 years and will be assessing progress in the run-up to the next general election in 2026, with the expected total number of visitors approaching 400,000 in 2025.’