It’s been another encouraging year for Manx tourism, according to official statistics.
Economic Development Minister John Shimmin MHK said that figures and feedback from the hospitality industry suggest visitor numbers are up so far this year.
This builds on the success of 2012 when overall visitor expenditure increasing by just over 5 per cent to £103 million over the figures for 2011, with expenditure by leisure visitors increasing by 14 per cent to £47.7 million. He said the statistics were consistent with his department’s strategic aim of ‘exploiting high value niche markets, driving up quality and developing the island as a year-round destination’.
Two local accommodation providers have reported a busy year with bookings up.
Shirley Clague, manager of the Edelweiss Hotel in Douglas, said: ‘We have had a very busy year with our bookings showing a very pleasing 25 per cent increase on recent years, with next year already starting to fill up. There are many great new events bringing people to us from all over the world, which would give any top destination a run for their money!’
Sue Goody, of Old Lonan Church Farm Cottages, added: ‘We have five self-catering cottages and have seen an 11.7 per cent increase in visitor numbers this year with an encouraging trend of new people coming to the island for the first time. Already we are seeing a healthy level of returnees and new visitor booking for 2014.’
The Steam Packet reported recently that visitor numbers for the inaugural Festival of Motorcycling were 4 per cent up on the same period in 2012.
This followed a successful 2013 TT Races with a Treasury survey showing a significant increase over a three-year period in the economic contribution that the TT Races makes to the island’s economy – up £5.2 million to £18.9 million.
Mr Shimmin said: ‘My department has been responsible for getting the Isle of Man featured in nearly all of the [UK] national newspapers this year as well as several key UK regional titles and specialist magazines.
‘We also directly assist with the production of TV programmes like the BBC’s James May’s Toy Stories, which is due to be shown to millions of UK viewers during Christmas this year and which is also broadcast worldwide.
‘This will be hugely valuable publicity for the Isle of Man, which already totals around £1 million to date this year.’