Isle of Man tourism ‘showing resilience’ despite staycation snub – BBC News

Manx tourism businesses have shown “real resilience and ingenuity” despite a survey indicating only 32% of people planned a holiday on the island during the pandemic, the government has said.

A campaign launched in June sought to encourage residents to take a so-called staycation to help local firms.

Rob Callister MHK insisted the response had been “generally very positive”.

Several self-catering and glamping facilities had been “fully booked for the summer season”, he added.

The Isle of Man’s border reopened to residents on 20 July but anyone returning must self-isolate for 14 days, unless using the air bridge with Guernsey.

As part of the government’s My Island Staycation campaign, a dedicated webpage aimed at Manx people was created to encourage them to holiday locally.

But a government survey published last week appeared to show only a small proportion of people had heeded the call.

Tourism companies have since reported mixed fortunes as the island edges back to normality.

John Keggin, whose firm manages 50 holiday homes, said he was “struggling to keep up with demand” from residents.

The border restriction had given Manx people an “opportunity to reconnect with the island” and some were booking various stays in several places, he added.

But not all organisations have seen the same demand and a tour bus operator said his business had “fallen off a cliff” due to the pandemic.

David Midghall said some initiatives, such as a mystery tour of the island with an overnight stay, had proved successful but the company needed further government support to survive.

Confusion and fear about coronavirus meant some older residents were reluctant to “venture very far except for getting essentials”, he added.

In his budget speech last month, Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan said financial support schemes would be extended for travel and tourism firms who had been “severely impacted” by the restrictions.

Three schemes are currently available for businesses in the industry but are due to finish at the end of September.

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