‘Extend holiday season’ plan to boost Isle of Man tourism – BBC News

Extending the tourism season by attracting motorsport groups is a key part of plans to grow visitor numbers on the Isle of Man.

The government wants to bring an additional 30,000 tourists to the island by 2023, growing the value of the sector to £159m a year.

Supporting “non-weather dependent” events in the spring and autumn months is part of the new strategy, it said.

Funding of £900,000 was also earmarked to advertise the island overseas.

With visitor occupancy running “close to capacity” during the main season, the island must look at innovative ways to develop a year-round visitor economy, said tourism bosses.

The plan to boost numbers involves targeting holidaymakers interested in outdoor activities such as walking, golfing and cycling, as well as “high value” visitors such as sports car and motorcycle enthusiast groups.

The growth is being driven forward by Visit Isle of Man and would involve improving facilities for holidaymakers and increasing bed spaces.

Agency head Angela Byrne said “collaboration” between government, businesses and local residents was the key to achieving the “ambitious” target.

“We can’t work on our own, we need a network of people to work with us from central government right through to someone who owns a bed and breakfast,” Ms Byrne said.

Other markets include “high-intensity breaks” centred on the island’s natural beauty in the “shoulder months” of February to March, and October to November.

The plan would form the foundations of a forthcoming 10-year strategy to grow visitor numbers to 500,000 by 2030, she added.

Figures from 2018 show the total number of visitors stood at 308,263, with a value of £133m to the Manx economy.

Surveys show the TT and Festival of Motorcycling grew by 2,189 visitors in 2019.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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