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Destination Cowes to Launch at World Travel Market


02 November 2016

Visit Isle of Wight looks to the global tourism market to grow visitor numbers over the next five years.

Visit Isle of Wight has announced plans to showcase the Island at the World Travel Market this November. This new initiative is one of the first activities funded by the newly established WIGHT BID, in which over 1000 tourism businesses are collectively funding projects to increase their returns from the visitor economy through a statutory investment arrangement introduced on the Island this September.

Staged annually, World Travel Market (WTM) is the leading global event for the travel industry and travel media, and takes place in London’s ExCel exhibition centre from 7th to 9thNovember.  Around 50,000 travel industry professionals are expected to meet, network and conduct business at the show, which is attended by almost 200 countries from around the world.

David Thornton, the Chief Executive for VIOW said: “Currently only 5% of our annual visitors originate overseas, and this number has remained stubbornly low for many years. To grow our overseas volume, we need to team up with travel agencies and inbound operator partners who can sell holidays to the Isle of Wight across the counter in other parts of the World. Being at this show, alongside Visit Britain, and many of the UK’s established inbound carriers, is essential if we are to increase our share of this global tourism market in years to come.”

The Isle of Wight stand (stand number UKI166) will promote the Island’s heritage, stressing connections with internationally recognised names including Victoria and Albert, Tennyson, Churchill and the Isle of Wight festival. A new destination manual will list all WIGHT BID levy payer businesses and provide maps, local information and new itineraries that tour operators and travel agents can use to promote the Island and build marketing programmes to support consumer sales.  

Visit Isle of Wight will be joined by the newly formed Destination Cowes partnership, who are co-investors in the exhibition, with the aim of attracting more Cruise ship business and new events to Cowes.

Capt. Stuart McIntosh, Cowes Harbour Master, said: “There is real potential to establish Cowes as a popular cruise ship destination and with its central south coast location, it is an ideally situated port-of-call for cruise ship operators catering to the northern European luxury cruise market.”

The Destination Cowes partnership will also be launched at the show: a collective made up of Cowes Town Council, Visit Isle of Wight, the Cowes Harbour Commission, Red Funnel, Cowes Yacht Haven, English Heritage, and Cowes and East Cowes Business Associations.

£5,500 of the WIGHT BID fund is being invested in the World Travel Market exhibition this year. So far Visit Isle of Wight has committed £35,000 of the annual levy fund in early projects to grow the visitor economy on the Island. Full details of the 2017 plan will be revealed at a Marketing Briefing for all levy payers to be held at Shanklin Theatre on the 1stof November. More details here: https://isleofwightbid.com/events/

Just over 1,000 WIGHT BID levy payers will receive their annual bill this week. The documentation, sent by Isle of Wight Council on behalf of the BID company, lists key activities planned over the next six months. Visit Isle of Wight is urging tourism providers to pay their bill promptly so that funds can be committed to new marketing campaigns aimed at increasing the number of first time visitors to the Island next year.


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