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Rise in Leisure Visitors 13 November 2006

Figures issued by the Economic Affairs Division of Treasury for the period July to September 2006 show an increase of 5.4% in leisure visitors staying in paid accommodation. This would indicate the best third quarter leisure visitor arrivals since 2002.

For the full year to date the comparable figure is -1.5%, a significant recovery from the early part of the year that saw a decrease of 8%.

Director of Tourism, Geoff Le Page, states “A strong well planned marketing campaign aimed at our core UK markets has not only resulted in a recovery from a slow start but has also resulted in 13,173 (+13.4%) more guides being distributed than in 2005, an increase of 54.7% on unique internet sessions and the best figures for awareness and perception of the Isle of Man based on independent research since 1999. It is unfortunate that the decrease in leisure visitors from Ireland, due to reduced sailings, has not enabled us to see positive growth year on year but we have yet to see the results from our £100,000 UK Autumn campaign”.

The total number of visitors to the Island for the period up to September 2006 is down by 5% with Business Visitors continuing to see a reduction of 15% mainly due to the decrease in construction and the film industry. Day visits are also down by over 17% due to the lack of day trips with the Steam Packet and the loss of the Lady of Mann pre TT day trip specials.

David Cretney MHK, Minister for Tourism and Leisure, comments “My Department has undertaken a comprehensive review of its marketing and has produced a campaign that during the year has resulted in significant recovery in the leisure business to the Isle of Man. As commented widely throughout the UK the World Cup adversely affected travel arrangements in the earlier part of the year and overall the results are pleasing given the slow start that was common throughout the UK. Press comment across the UK has shown that many areas have seen a decrease in business with, for instance, Blackpool suffering a decline of ½ million visitors this year. I am also delighted that our main partners, Isle of Man Steam Packet, Euromanx and Manx2.com saw the positive strengths of our marketing campaign and joined with us on a number of successful tactical initiatives. As a result not only have we recovered leisure business but also increased our positive national identity in line with one of Government’s key aims”.

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