Campaigns by the Isle of Wight to attract more visitors from a wider demographic, raise awareness of its beaches and natural scenery, and embrace cleaner modes of transport across the Island are adding to its appeal as an exciting holiday home destination in 2020, said Spot Blue International Property in January.
The Isle of Wight is famous for its annual music Festival and Cowes sailing regatta, but the picturesque Island in the Solent is keen to welcome more year-round visitors, including more families and people from the north of Britain, who come to enjoy the historic sites, pretty coastline and countryside. The Island receives around 2.34 million visitors a year (April 2018-March 2019), with nearly half of them staying there exclusively for a holiday or short break (42 per cent during 2018).
Only 33 per cent of visitors to the Isle of Wight come from outside the Southeast of Britain, including just two per cent coming from abroad, according to the latest Isle of Wight Visitor Monitor (Q1 2019). Unsurprisingly, 40 per cent of visitors come from the Island’s home county, Hampshire, with the remaining 27 per cent travelling from either London or elsewhere in the Southeast. It’s a similar story when compared with the most recent data available for the busier summer period – in Q3 2018, 59 per cent of visitors to the Island came from the Southeast.
Talking about their recent Christmas campaign, Will Myles, MD at Visit Isle of Wight, told local radio: “We are going out in search of new customers for the island. So, therefore we’re taking our message a little bit further north this time. We’re going to be targeting areas in and around Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, [and] Leicester in order that we can get that message over and people can come down to the Island”.
Appealing to more families is another objective of the Isle of Wight’s tourism sector. During Q1 2019, 47 per cent of visitors came to the Island alone, with 88 per cent of all visitors being in adult-only groups (alone or otherwise). “Staycationers do overlook the Isle of Wight in favour of Cornwall or Devon, but not many people realise the Island has a fantastic variety of beaches,” said Julian Walker, director at Spot Blue International Property. “From unspoilt and protected Compton Bay, nestled amongst chalk Downs and a favourite with surfers, to the east-coast seaside resorts of Shanklin and Sandown, there’s something for everyone. As further proof, BBC Countryfile magazine crowned Sandown Bay as its 2019 ‘Beach of the Year’. It’s just getting people there to see for themselves.”
A further objective of the Isle of Wight is to encourage visitors to dump their cars for other forms of transport. The recent Visitor Monitor showed that 55 per cent of visitors use their own car for getting around the Island, the next most popular transport mode being a friend or relative’s car (13 per cent). Bus and bicycle are used by only nine per cent and two per cent respectively.
The Island’s ‘Slow Travel Guide’ is one solution created by the Visit Isle of Wight. It is a collection of eight routes around the Island that can be explored by bus, bike or on foot, with each route enabling people to discover hidden attractions and lesser known areas of countryside. Adding to this, Visit Isle of Wight has been running a scheme, in conjunction with Green Star accommodation providers and local bus company Southern Vectis, that encourages visitors to choose public transport instead of using a car. Called the Green Star Scheme and developed in partnership with the Isle of Wight Council, this £1.3 million three-year sustainable transport programme is now in its final year.
“Another great opportunity for the Island to showcase itself and benefit from a surge in visitors would be if it is included in the international Tour of Britain cycling race,” added Mr Walker. “The Island’s cabinet is in favour and has recently approved plans for hosting the final stage of the 2021 race so it is now down for them to negotiate with the event organisers – fingers crossed.”
Spot Blue International Property’s has opportunities to invest in quality, fully equipped holiday parks in the Isle of Wight. Suited to lifestyle owners and investors, each holiday home is built to full residential standards, comes with a ten-year manufacturer’s warranty, a RICs valuation and are fully mortgageable.