New Isle of Man Tourism Campaign Launched

The Department for Enterprise has launched a new three-year tourism campaign aimed at encouraging people to experience the full breadth of the Island’s offering as a visitor destination. 

‘Isle of Man – The Extraordinary Story’ has been in development for several months and has been created to showcase the very best of the Island, helping to promote its distinctive culture and heritage and its wide array of attractions and outdoor activities. It will run for a minimum of three years and provide a creative foundation that can be utilised by the local tourism industry as well as provide the basis for the various promotional activities that are undertaken to promote the Isle of Man as a visitor destination. 

Rob Callister MHK, the Department for Enterprise Member responsible for Tourism and Motorsport said: 

‘Competition for tourism business from destinations in the UK, Ireland and further afield is greater than ever and the Isle of Man needs to continue to work hard to realise its full potential to grow its share of the tourism market.

‘The campaign delivers on the key actions laid out in our tourism strategy, the Destination Management Plan, and the Programme for Government which committed us to strengthening the links between tourism, culture and heritage. Brief details of the new campaign were highlighted at our Tourism Industry Day in February and were well received by those who attended.  By committing to this creative for three years we will maximise the use of resources and create certainty for industry stakeholders. 

‘The campaign initially encompasses digital advertising, print advertising and social media and is targeted at the four key audience profiles highlighted in the Isle of Man’s Destination Management Plan. 

‘Our visitors can cram in so much within a short time of arrival and can be visiting one of our fantastic castles or heritage attractions, and then within half an hour can be out enjoying some sea kayaking or taking in one of our wonderful scenic walks. By which time they will want to indulge in some of the best food and drink produce that can be found in Britain.’ 

The centrepiece of the campaign is a 90-second film which features a host of Isle of Man-based creatives. The voiceover was narrated by well-known Isle of Man resident, John Rhys Davies, whose work is familiar to millions from his TV and film work - in particular the ‘Lord of The Rings’ trilogy. 

The music was composed and performed especially to accompany the film by one of the Isle of Man’s most respected traditional musicians, David Kilgallon, supported by Shane Kerwin. David is a member of popular Celtic trad group Mec Lir. 

David said: 

‘I have felt honoured to write something for this film which I feel has captured an accurate spirit of the Island. As a Manxman I’m also proud to be able to have provided music based on an old collection from Thomas Kermode and bring it back to life. It has been a challenge but by pulling together a capable team of Manx musicians and engineers I was confident we could produce real quality.’ 

The full 90-second film can be viewed either on YouTube or via the official Isle of Man visitor portal.

The guidelines and creative assets for the new campaign are being made available at no charge for the local tourism industry to use if they wish, as part of the broad range of support that is made available to them. These can be accessed on the Visit Isle of Man Website.

Strathallan Horse Tram Depot design aims to replicate 1902 original

Proposed Depot

Planning permission is being sought to rebuild Strathallan Horse Tram Depot on Strathallan Crescent in Douglas.

The proposed building has been designed to closely replicate the original depot built in 1902. The design will complement the tourist attraction’s heritage status and enhance the Douglas Promenades Conservation Area.

If approved, the new building will provide a modern environment in which to store and maintain trams, with first-floor offices and welfare facilities for staff, replacing the current facility which is in a considerable state of disrepair.

If planning consent is received, work may begin later in the summer.

Jason Moorhouse MHK, Member with responsibility for Public Transport, said:

‘The horse trams’ historical and cultural significance play an important role in the life of the promenade, and the layout of the track was given careful consideration during the planning of the new promenade design.

‘The proposed replacement building is intended to ensure the service continues well into the future by providing modern, fit-for-purpose facilities. It also provides the opportunity to construct a new building that will look almost identical to the depot that was built in 1902 and that clearly relates closely to the historic context of the area.’

Strathallan Depot 1 Strathallan Depot 2

Reminder to put dogs on leads at Ayres National Nature Reserve

Ayres National Nature Reserve

Dog walkers are reminded their animals must be on leads at the Ayres National Nature Reserve from Sunday 1 April – Tuesday 31 July to protect ground nesting birds.

The requirement comes under special bylaws for the reserve and failure to comply could result in a fine of up to £2,500. 

The reserve is an important refuge for ground nesting birds, some of which have seen a decline in numbers in the Isle of Man.

Curlew, lapwing, oystercatcher, ringed plover, little and Arctic tern, skylark and meadow pipit all lay eggs on the ground at the reserve.

When chicks hatch, they move away from nests under the watchful eye of their parents. It can be five weeks before they can fly, during which time they are vulnerable.

Visitors to the reserve are therefore asked to keep to the main paths and move away if birds show signs of agitation or distress.

Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:

‘The Ayres and its birdlife are very important to the balance and diversity of wildlife in the Isle of Man. It has a unique environment which is not found anywhere else on the Island and attracts birds that are both rare and declining in numbers.

‘We want everyone to make the most of our beautiful Island – such as the ongoing 2018 Year of Our Island celebration – but this enjoyment comes with responsibilities.

‘We must all be custodians of our unique biosphere which has been recognised by UNESCO.

‘We appeal to dog owners to act responsibly and we will be working with the Isle of Man Constabulary to ensure anyone who flouts the bylaws is penalised.’

Constable Mark Kerruish, a Wildlife Crime Officer with the Constabulary, said:

‘There is clear signage at all entry points onto the Ayres National Nature Reserve showing that from the 1 April until the 31 July each year, dogs must be on leads.

“We would ask that dog walkers respect this law, which only last for four months each year. Owners who want to let their dogs off of the lead should go elsewhere. Anyone found exercising their dog without a lead may find themselves in court and facing a substantial fine.’

Chief Minister sends best wishes to Commonwealth Games team

Chief Minister Commonwealth GamesChief Minister Howard Quayle MHK has added his best wishes to the team representing the Isle of Man at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

The Island has sent a 33-strong squad of athletes to the Gold Coast to compete alongside 70 other nations and territories.

The opening ceremony at the Carrara Stadium on Wednesday 4 April will launch 11 days of world-class sporting action featuring more than 6,000 competitors.

Mr Quayle said:

‘The Commonwealth Games is a tremendous celebration of sport and I know the Gold Coast will put on a memorable event for all the participants and spectators. As a Manxman it is always a great moment to see our flag being paraded during the opening ceremony. On behalf of the people of the Isle of Man, I’d like to say how proud we are of the team and to wish them all the best in the days ahead.’

The Commonwealth Games is the biggest international multi-sport event in which the Isle of Man competes as an independent nation. Our athletes represent Great Britain at the Olympics, as cyclist Peter Kennuagh did with such distinction at London 2012.

The Island has been taking part in the Commonwealth Games since 1958, when it was known as the British Empire and Commonwealth Games.

Cyclist Stuart Slack became the Isle of Man’s first medallist when he claimed bronze in the men’s 120-mile road race in Cardiff in 1958.

Overall, the Island has won a total of 11 Commonwealth Games medals – three gold, two silver and six bronze. The three gold medallists are Peter Buckley (cycling 1966), Nigel Kelly (shooting 1986) and Mark Cavendish (cycling 2006).

Mr Quayle said:

‘Our Commonwealth Games success shows that athletes from a small country such as the Isle of Man can shine on the international stage if they have the ability, the determination and the support of their local communities. As a nation, the Island works hard to create an environment that nurtures talent and encourages our young people to flourish. Our athletes have worked extremely hard to earn the right to compete in Australia and I’ll be cheering them on at sporting venues across the Gold Coast.’

Notes:
The Chief Minister is attending the Commonwealth Games in Australia at his own expense.

Important Event for Local Campsite Operators

The Department for Enterprise Tourism team is hosting a ‘Campsite Information Presentation’ for local campsite operators, in conjunction with the Isle of Man’s Fire Safety and Environmental Health teams.

The event is relevant for permanent campsite operators, as well as those who offer campsite facilities on a temporary basis during the TT and Festival of Motorcycling. 

The presentation will deliver essential advice for all campsite operators on the Isle of Man to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors. Topics to be covered will include fire safety requirements, health and safety considerations for operating a campsite as well as useful advice on 'Hints and Tips' to improve the quality and service of a campsite. 

Rob Callister, the Department’s Member with responsibility for Tourism, said:

‘The purpose of the event is to remind and inform campsite operators of the safety requirements and best practice required to operate the sites.

‘We would also like to encourage anyone thinking of operating a campsite (whether it’s a commercial venture or a field they own) to attend so we can help them with the registration process and ensure all necessary approvals are in place.’

The presentation will take place at the Keyll Darree Lecture Theatre on Thursday 26 April 2018 and starts at 5.30pm, with an anticipated finish time of 6.30pm. The event is free to attend. Please use link for registration.

 All campsite registration certificates for 2018 will be distributed at this event.

NSC Fitness Zone and spa suite likely to be closed for three weeks

Damage to men's changing roomThe male changing area damaged by fire last week at the National Sports Centre has been released back to the Department of Education, Sport and Culture following an investigation by police and fire officials.

The damage to the changing area is extensive and will require full refurbishment. 

During the fire, smoke penetrated the ventilation systems, resulting in a significant amount of smoke entering the Fitness Zone area. This has caused damage to the ceiling tiles, air conditioning units and has subsequently left a thick layer of carbon on the gym equipment. 

The ceiling tiles will need to be replaced and the air conditioning and ventilation systems cleaned out. 

To comply with the warranty for the gym equipment, thorough cleaning is required, as well as checks and servicing by the specialist suppliers. It is estimated that this may take approximately three weeks to complete.

When the Fitness Zone and spa suite reopens, male customers will be asked to use the changing facilities down the corridor by the main sports hall until the works have been completed.

The NSC management team and staff understands that some customers may be disappointed by the timescales involved, particularly those paying for a gym and spa membership. As a thank you for existing members and their loyalty, incentives and credits or extensions will be arranged directly with affected customers.

The public is thanked for their patience and support following this unfortunate incident. 

Riverside footpath works ahead of Heritage Trail project

Improvement works currently taking place on a footpath running alongside the River Neb in Peel signify the beginning of a project on the former steam railway line to Douglas.

The 10-day scheme, which began earlier this week, focuses on the path between Peel power station and the weir near Glenfaba bridge.

Full pedestrian access is maintained during the works, although people should be wary of moving machinery and deposited materials.

These works will pave the way for a comprehensive overhaul of the Heritage Trail between Peel and Douglas, which will begin later this year and continue the Government’s focus on improvements to footpaths and glens as part of Year of Our Island.

One of the main objectives of the Heritage Trail scheme is to improve the surface quality in order to attract and accommodate more users: pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and people with limited mobility.

It also supports the Government’s Active Travel Strategy by enabling people to use the path more easily and reducing traffic on the roads.

Register now for 50km Firefighters’ Memorial Walk

The 12th annual Firefighters’ Memorial Walk will take place on Sunday 15 April.

The popular event covers 50 kilometres, starting at Peel Fire Station and following the Parish Walk route through Kirk Michael, Ballaugh, Jurby, Andreas and Sulby, before finishing at Ramsey Fire Station.

Organised by the Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service, the walk raises money for The Firefighters’ Charity, which provides various types of assistance to serving and retired fire service staff and their families.

The event is a registered road race and provides a great training option for those taking part in the Parish Walk. Entry costs £27 and registration is available at firefightersmemorialwalk.com, along with further information about the route and race rules.

Chief Fire Officer Kevin Groom said:

‘The Firefighters’ Memorial Walk provides a realistic challenge for both competitive and social walkers to take part in.

‘The walk is always popular so do not leave it too late to register. I look forward to meeting many along the route on the day.’

Keep checking the event website and social media page facebook.com/firefighterswalk for updates.

For information about the Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service, visit www.iomfire.com or find them on Facebook.

Last month to register for Homestay 2018

Homeowners in the Isle of Man can still register their properties to participate in the Homestay schemes for both the 2018 TT Races and the 2018 Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling. The deadline for registration is Monday 12 March 2018.

The Homestay Scheme provides an opportunity for households to host paying visitors for both the TT and Festival of Motorcycling. During the TT period ‘Homestay Hosts’ can earn up to £1,800 tax free income. 

Rob Callister MHK, the Political Member responsible for tourism and motorsport at the Department for Enterprise commented:

‘There are a growing number of visiting fans from around the world who attend these two major events. In 2017 the TT Races and Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling attracted an additional three thousand visitors to the Island compared with 2016, bringing the total to 61,272 visitors in 2017, with a combined estimated spend of £44 million, resulting in a contribution of £31 million to the local economy.

‘The provision of good quality Homestay accommodation is vital if we are to continue to grow these events and attract more visitors to the Isle of Man. We are always thankful to those who offer Homestay during these peak periods of demand and would encourage other homeowners to register their interest as soon as possible.’

Isle of Man firm MiQuando operates the Homestay schemes on behalf of the Department and is responsible for carrying out property inspections, providing advice on the scheme’s fire safety requirements, marketing, online booking for visitors, and assisting hosts with managing their online Homestay listing.

Homestay registration is compulsory for any private household looking to take in paying visitors during the two festivals. MiQuando is launching a new tool on the Homestay website, that will allow visitors and anybody interested in the scheme to check any registered Homestay property in the Island. 

Nigel Jones, Director at MiQuando, said:

‘We receive daily enquiries from visitors wanting to check if their Homestay is registered.  Our new Property Checker service will allow everyone to quickly check the Homestay Registration details for any local address. This is a much anticipated extra service provided by the team here at MiQuando.’

A new one-year registration costs £50, and hosts registering for two years can do so for £75, equating to £37.50 per year.

Homestay can be offered during TT for any number of nights between 26 May and 8 June and for the Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling between 18 and 31 August. Last year over 850 properties were registered.

For further information and terms and conditions please download the Homestay Hosts’ information pack from http://homestay.miquando.com/Home/hostinfo or telephone +44 1624 640393.

Research shows fifty percent increase in visitors to Southern 100 in 2017

Southern 100

The Department for Enterprise has released the latest visitor survey for the Southern 100, showing an increase of fifty percent in visitors to the races in 2017. 

In 2017 a total of 4,770 attended the event which runs on the Billown circuit at the beginning of July. The survey showed visitors stayed for an average of 4.3 nights and spent an estimated £434 on the trip. This equates to an estimated visitor spend of around £2.1 million, representing a contribution of just over £1.5 million to the Island’s economy. 

The survey is the latest in a series of annual surveys carried out by the Department for Enterprise to assess the economic contribution of the Island’s three main motorcycle events – the TT Races, the Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling (Classic TT, Manx Grand Prix, VMCC Festival of Jurby, Two Day Trial) and the Southern 100. 

Key findings of the 2017 study: 

  • An estimated 4,770 visitors came for the Southern in 2017 – an increase of 50% on the number coming in 2016.
  • On average, visitors stayed 4.3 nights in the Island and spent £434 on the trip. Total expenditure of these visitors in 2017 is estimated at around £2.1 million. This represents a contribution to Manx National Income of just over £1.5 million and an Exchequer Benefit of £0.3million.
  • 75% had visited the Island previously for the Southern 100, and two-thirds also visit the Island for other motorsport events such as TT and Festival of Motorcycling.
  • The majority of visitors (79%) were from England, with 19% from the rest of the British Islands/Republic of Ireland and 2% from further afield.

Rob Callister MHK, Political Member with responsibility for Tourism and Motorsport, commented: 

‘This remarkable growth is a tribute to the hard working committee of the Southern 100 Club who continue to deliver a strong event that contributes significantly to the Island’s overall visitor economy as well as attracting notable media coverage through print, online and television. 

‘The event is now well established as the third largest on the island in terms of visitors and is an important pillar in our annual motorsport strategy and a great contributor to our visitor economy.’ 

George Peach, Race Secretary at the Southern 100 Club, said: 

‘The results of the 2017 visitor survey confirm the increasing popularity of the Southern 100 and encourages us, as organisers to continue to further ensure the quality of the entry and improve facilities for the spectators and enthusiasts who make the effort to return year after year and enhance their visitor experience. 

‘Southern 100 Racing are already well advanced in the planning for the 2018 Southern 100 which will held from Monday 9 to Thursday 12 July.’ 

The full Southern 100 Visitor Survey 2017 is now available.