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Isle of Man showing growth as a conference destination 17 November 2008

The Department of Tourism & Leisure’s Convention bureau reports a growth in conferences and meetings visiting the Isle of Man with the number of conferences supported by the Department increasing from 16 conferences in 2007 to a total of 20 in 2008.

Since the reopening of the Villa Marina in 2004, the Department of Tourism and Leisure has made use of additional funding made available through the Marketing Initiatives Fund set up by the Treasury Minister, Allan Bell MHK, to raise the awareness of the Isle of Man as an alternative conference destination. The Department has to date used £200,000 in its marketing of the Island for conferences which has resulted in assisting 66 conferences, a total of 12,129 delegates staying a minimum of 35,404 bednights and spending an estimated £4,911,505.

The marketing schedule for the current budget includes a Christmas campaign, improvements to the conference website, attendance at two major conference exhibitions in the UK, a series of advertisements in UK’s main conferencing publications, stands at four conferences in 2009 to promote and maximise attendance at their 2010 conferences which are being held on the Isle of Man, support for conferences booked for 2009, an Isle of Man destination showcase in London and an ambassador day on the Isle of Man to increase awareness of the support the Convention Bureau can give to local organisations who would like to bring their connected conference to the Isle or Man.

Tourism & Leisure Minister, Hon Martyn Quayle, MHK said

The Department has been working hard to increase, what we believe, is a very important market for the Isle of Man. The peak periods for conferences are, according to a survey conducted by the British Association of Conference Destinations the autumn and spring periods and there were over 1.38 million conferences held in the UK worth an estimated £8 billion in 2007. This shows us the value and the potential of the conference market. From exhibitions and forums the Department has attended this year, the feedback we have been getting is that more conferences will be held closer to home and that organisers are continually looking for new and alternative destinations and we believe the Isle of Man certainly fits the profile.

‘I would also like to recognise the part played by many of the Island’s residents who have played a major part, with our support, in contributing to the growth in the number of conferences. Of the 66 conferences, 49 of them were with the assistance of a local representative of the association or organisation. I would like to add that if there is anyone who would like to try and bring a conference of an association they belong to, back to the Isle of Man that they get in touch with our Convention Bureau representative, Richard Cuthbert who will talk through the type of assistance we can offer.’

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