TOURISM INDUSTRY DROP-IN DAY – 9TH DECEMBER 2014

Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) is planning to stage a drop-in day for the Island’s local tourism industry at Newclose Cricket Club in Newport on Tuesday, 9 December 2014, from 10am to 4pm.

Anyone involved in the Isle of Wight tourism industry will be able to meet the VIOW team and share their ideas and plans. It is hoped that the feedback and suggestions on the day will then play a significant part in future planning and implementation of VIOW’s strategy for 2015 and beyond.

Tourism is worth an estimated £520 million a year and almost two-thirds of the Island’s population are involved in tourism, or have a family member working within the industry.

The VIOW team are keen to help the local industry make the most of all the opportunities coming up in 2015 to help continue to grow Island tourism well into the future.

VIOW Chairman, Simon Dabell, says: “Our success as a destination is hugely important to our way of life, our future prosperity and the continuation of key services and facilities. We operate in a very competitive environment and need to ensure that we’re all working together to improve our overall Island prospects.

“Our drop-in day is a significant element of that process and we urge everyone serious about tourism to support it.”

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, adds: “This event is an important opportunity for the tourism industry to give us essential feedback on their concerns and ideas about developing tourism for the Isle of Wight at an important time of year, when we are defining and agreeing our strategy for the next 36 months.

“Don’t miss this chance to get your views heard and influence more than £1million of annual investment in tourism marketing – it could transform your business!”

Shirley Smart, Isle of Wight Council executive member responsible for tourism, says: “We want to work with all parts of the Industry, such as the accommodation providers, restaurants and retailers. We recognise that tourism is integral to our quality of life and a major contributor to the economic development of our Island.”

The Tourism Industry drop-in day on Tuesday 9th December is being held at Newclose Cricket Club, Blackwater Road, Newport, PO30 3BE (http://newclose.org/). There is no need to register to attend this event.

Tea and coffee will be provided throughout the day and members of the Visit Isle of Wight team will be on hand between 10am and 4pm for any queries or just a general chat.

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For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Tel: 01983 201048, 07766 705672, E-mail: sue@visitwight.org

Notes to editors

Visit Isle of Wight Ltd

Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight. As well as the consumer website (www.visitisleofwight.co.uk) the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities: www.visitwight.org

VENTNORVILLE – AN ALTERNATIVE ISLE OF WIGHT CHRISTMAS!

Families looking for something that little bit different to do in the build-up to Christmas should catch the next sleigh for “Ventnorville”, on the Isle of Wight.

With its warm microclimate, botanical garden and timeless promenade, Ventnor is a great place to visit at any time of the year – but it’s going to be especially magical this Christmas.

Because on Saturday, December 13th, the seaside town will turn into “Ventnorville” and will be celebrating all things Dr Seuss as ‘The Grinch That Stole Christmas’ comes to town.

Promising to be a day bursting with activities and entertainment, it will all begin when The Grinch arrives on his sleigh and travels around Ventnorville spreading his own, special brand of Christmas cheer!

Visitors will be able to meet The Grinch who, despite his grumpy anti-holiday spirit, will be getting into the seasonal spirit at a range of festive events taking place in the town throughout the day, including a spectacular Santa dash along the beach, a costume competition and parade, a sparkly lantern parade and a community Carol service at the town’s park.

There will be more opportunities to continue the festive fun on the Island at the spectacular Brighstone Christmas Tree Festival, from December 10th to 20th. With around 120 decorated trees in six different locations – including churches and pubs in and around Brighstone – further details can be found at http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/the-spectacular-18th-brighstone-christmas-tree-festival-p1105511.

It’s also possible to experience a “Wight Royal Christmas at Osborne” – with an expert guide who will explain how Queen Victoria and her family celebrated Christmas on the Island during regular tours on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, until Wednesday, December 31st (December 6th, 7th and 24th excepted).

Queen Victoria herself will be making an appearance at ‘A Victorian Christmas at Osborne’ on December 6th and 7th, when there will also be traditional games and carousel rides, and tours the festively-dressed rooms as you are transported back to Christmas time in the Royal residence. For more details, visit http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/a-victorian-christmas-at-osborne-house-p1099111.

The annual Red Funnel Cowes Christmas Food Show held at Cowes Yacht Haven on December 13th and 14th, meanwhile, highlights the very best in local Isle of Wight produce from organically-grown tomatoes and oak smoked garlic, to freshly baked artisan bread and delicious dairy ice cream. This is the chance to enjoy food demonstrations by talented local chefs at the interactive Cookery Theatre, plus Island arts and crafts, and traditional Christmas entertainment including a vintage Santa’s Grottos and Carol singing. See more details at http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/red-funnel-cowes-christmas-festival-p1099591.

And finally, for a very special festive night out, step on board a steam train and experience a relaxing ride through the winter countryside, with Christmas supper in Havenstreet railway station, accompanied by seasonal music and carols. The Christmas Carvery Night at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway takes place on December 20th, and booking is essential. http://www.iwsteamrailway.co.uk/.

For more information on where to stay and what’s on in the run up to the festive season, go to www.visitisleofwight.co.uk.

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For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Isle of Wight Press Officer, Tel: 07766 705672, E-mail: sue@visitwight.co.uk

Notes to editors:

The Grinch is the central character from the children’s story by Theodor “Dr Seuss”, ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’. The grouchy green monster lives in the town of Whoville, a fun place to live with lots of colourful characters living in a Christmas storyland setting. The grumpy, anti-holiday Grinch hates happiness, hates merriment, and most of all, hates Christmas.

The Grinch conspires to deprive the Who’s of their favourite holiday by sneaking into town on Christmas Eve to steal everything associated with the holiday. But in a turn of events, the Grinch’s heart grows as he realizes that his nefarious no-good doings didn’t ruin Christmas; the citizens of Whoville are still celebrating and still coming together in a show of goodwill. In that moment, the Grinch changes his mind (and his heart) when it comes to Christmas.

Ventnorville

10.15am Costume competition at St. Catherine’s Church, Ventnor (open to children and their dogs. Entry forms available from Love Ventnor’s Facebook page, Oh So Vintage or email ventnorba@hotmail.co.uk
10.30am The Grinch arrives on his sleigh in Ventnorville and travels around the town.
10.30am-4pm Arts & Craft Market at the Winter Gardens
10.45am: Costume competition judged by The Grinch.
11am Costume Parade through Ventnorville.
11am-3pm Santa’s Grotto
11.30am Costume award ceremony – presented by the Mayor on the sea front or Winter Gardens – depending on the weather.
Midday ‘Santa Dash’ on Ventnor beach
2.30-3.30pm The Bunker Girls at Oh So Vintage
4.30p Lantern Parade from the Youth Centre around the town to Ventnor Park.
5.00pm Carol Service at Ventnor Park

Plus:

Festive food market at the Baptist Church; photo booth with The Grinch at Church Street Motorcycles; Bands playing around the town including the Vectis Corps of Drums’ Hunger hot spots; Face painting; Hot chestnuts at Five A Day.

Ventnorville is being organised by Ventnor Business Association and Visit Isle of Wight accepts no liability for any inaccuracy in any of the information in the programme listed above. http://www.loveventnor.co.uk/vba-information/

Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight. As well as the consumer website (VisitIsleofWight.co.uk) the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities: www.visitwight.org

Heritage Centre Now Open

Ventnor Botanic Garden is delighted to announce the opening of The Heritage Centre, a newly developed all-weather attraction.

With displays, videos, and historical artefacts, the Heritage Centre explores the history of the Royal National Hospital for Diseases of the Chest that once occupied the site.

Friends of the Garden and local historians have helped to create The Heritage Centre. Jonyth Hill and Professor Robin McInnes, a descendent of E.F. Laidlaw who wrote the book “The Story of the Royal National Hospital Ventnor,” have contributed photographs and diary accounts from staff and patients.

New information boards have been created to help bring the history of the Hospital to life and visitors can learn about the day to day life of patients as well as the Hospital’s development and legacy.

John Curtis, Director of VBG commented, “ We have a small but rich display that is growing as the presence of the Heritage Centre encourages people to share stories, photographs, and personal archives. We also unearthed signs, tribute plaques, crockery, and other artefacts all over the site originally from the Hospital and its Chapel. This opening is important because it connects with the history of healing at VBG – one we hope to rejuvenate as the Garden develops events like the Healing Festival.”

The Heritage Centre is located inside the grounds of Ventnor Botanic Garden where Admission fees apply. There is no additional charge to visit the Heritage Centre. Ventnor Botanic Garden is open daily from 10am.

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Notes to the editors

For images and all other press enquiries, please contact Kirsten Morris via 01983 855397 or marketing@botanic.co.uk.

About Ventnor Botanic Garden

Ventnor Botanic Garden lies in the remarkable microclimate at the heart of the famous Ventnor ‘Undercliff.’ This unique garden is protected from the cold northerly winds by chalk downs. Indeed, it holds the warmth from its southerly aspect so well that, combined with the moderating influence of the sea, frost is rarely known.
With an average rainfall of 28 inches its climate is more akin to the Mediterranean. This enables a wide variety of plants considered too tender for much of mainland Britain to be grown outdoors unprotected from the elements.
No longer under the management of the Isle of Wight County Council, John Curtis is leading the Community Interest Company that is saving the garden and transforming it into a venue for local residents and visitors to the Isle of Wight to enjoy all year round. http://www.botanic.co.uk

The Isle of Wight has Christmas all wrapped up

It’s never too early to plan your perfect shopping trip so why not find a place where the spirit of Christmas is still very much in evidence and shopping is a real pleasure?

With hundreds of independent retailers, a host of events and some fantastic festive accommodation deals, the Isle of Wight provides a magical backdrop for Christmas shopping.

Festive fun, winter wonderlands and twinkling lights bring Christmas cheer to Island towns and villages adding up to a full and satisfying day out for visitors. Find unusual crafts at bustling Christmas markets and fayres and unique one-off gifts at stylish boutiques and independent shops which pride themselves on offering a personal and friendly service – from free gift wrapping to complimentary mulled wine and mince pies.

Christmas pantomimes provide the perfect excuse to sit back, relax and put your feet up, or stop off at a warm and cosy pub for a pint of refreshment and some friendly chat as you soak up the Christmas cheer around the Island.

Ryde comes into its own at Christmas when the town is filled with the sounds of carols and the sights of strolling performers. Home to Liz Earle’s flagship store which stocks a range of beautifully packaged skincare, this town on the beach has a great range of specialist outlets including jewellers, toy stores, antiques dealers, bookshops and countless fashion boutiques; http://uk.lizearle.com/our-island-store

The Red Funnel Cowes Food Show on 13/14 December brings visitors the very best food, drink and gifts in one place. From stalls selling oak-smoked garlic and delicious dairy ice cream to a vintage Santa’s Grotto, choirs and children’s entertainment, it’s a great excuse to explore Cowes and purchase some truly unique gifts. http://www.redfunnel.co.uk/island-guide/isle-of-wight-events/isle-of-wight-events-july-to-september/cowes-food-show/

Quay Arts located on the River Medina in Newport is great for hand-crafted gifts, from locally made jewellery, ceramics, and textiles as well as cards and children’s toys. Newport also has a popular farmer’s market on a Friday in St Thomas’s Square and the areas around Watchbell Lane and Nodehill are interesting with a range of chabby chic, vintage and clothing shops to explore; http://www.quayarts.org/; http://www.islandfarmersmarket.co.uk/

Three miles south east of Newport and set in beautiful countryside is the traditional working craft village of Arreton Barns where you can enjoy watching local skilled artisans at work in their studios, browse local shops and have lunch in the Dairyman’s Daughter, a real-ale pub which from 1st December will be offering a yummy 3-course Christmas menu, including coffee and home-made fudge for £22 per person; http://www.arretonbarns.co.uk/

Hop on the Wightlink ferry from Lymington to Yarmouth (http://www.wightlink.co.uk/go/isle-of-wight-ferry-routes-destinations/lymington-yarmouth-ferry/) and discover a selection of boutique shops selling local food, fine jewellery, antiques and as you would expect from this historic harbour town, lots of nautically-inspired items. Nearby Chessell Pottery Barns, which is open weekends until 21 December, offers a wide range of unusual gifts and toys, as well as the opportunity to get creative and paint your own pottery. http://www.chessellpotterybarns.co.uk/

Dimbola Museum and Galleries in Freshwater Bay will be hosting another wonderful Christmas Arts and Crafts Fair on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd November from 10am-4pm with a host of quality stalls selling a wide range of beautiful and unique handmade items from jewellery, photography and paintings to driftwood sculptures, pottery and glass. Entry to the museum and fair is free all weekend so why not get away from the high street and then enjoy a well-deserved break in their tea room which will be serving delicious home-made cakes and lunches? http://www.dimbola.co.uk/

If you can’t spare the time to visit, the Island has a huge choice of inspirational gift ideas that you can buy online. From relaxing spa days and boutique hotels to delicious afternoon tea and paragliding flights, there are lots of gift experiences on the Isle of Wight.

An irresistible mixture of gifts can be ordered from Made on the Isle of Wight, including hampers containing the finest Island produce from Island cheeses and chutneys to wines, beers and hand-made chocolates. Their courier service will deliver your hamper – which can be personalised with your own message – to anywhere in the world. http://madeonisleofwight.com/

Alternatively, delight the teen in your life with a customised sweater, hoodie or tee shirt from Rapanui, the award-winning eco-fashion company based on the Island. https://rapanuiclothing.com/

For more information on where to stay and what’s on in the run up to the festive season, go to www.visitisleofwight.co.uk

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For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Isle of Wight Press Officer, Tel: 07766 705672, E-mail: sue@visitwight.co.uk

Notes to editors

The countdown to Christmas….

The Needles Park: Every weekend from 6th December enjoy a Wight Christmas at The Needles Park. Free parking, free children’s rides, free sweet-making and glass-making demonstrations, free elves workshop and free horse and carriage rides, there’s never been a better time to visit; www.theneedles.co.uk

Christmas Fun Day in Ventnor, 13th December: Ventnor is turning into Ventnorville and celebrating all things Dr Seuss. The Grinch will be coming to town, and you really don’t want to miss it! https://isleofwight.com/whats-on/-christmas-fun-day-in-ventnor

‘Twas the Barton before Christmas: On 16th November, take in the grounds of Barton Manor for a special Christmas Fair in aid of two local charities, Challenge & Adventure Isle of Wight and Age UK Isle of Wight. There will be a selection of local produce stalls, festive entertainment from Jazzy Heath and Centre Stage (plus more to be announced), lots of great decorations, fully stocked café with festive treats and a visit from Father Christmas himself. http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/twas-the-barton-before-christmas-p1114241

Cinderella at Medina Theatre: 2pm on Monday 22nd December – Saturday 3rd January (excluding Christmas Day and New Year’s Day); adults £14, concessions £11;
http://www.medinatheatre.co.uk/

Aladdin at Shanklin Theatre: 2.45pm (additional performance at 7pm on 28th December)
Monday 22nd December – Friday 2nd January (excluding Christmas Day); tickets £15,
under 16s £11; http://www.shanklintheatre.com/

Sandown Christmas Eve Funday: A fun day for Christmas Eve featuring Street Entertainers, Market Stalls, Live Music and a Raffle. http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/sandown-christmas-eve-funday-p1113561

Visit Isle of Wight Ltd
Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight. As well as the consumer website (www.visitisleofwight.co.uk) the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities: www.visitwight.org

Isle of Wight Businesses shortlisted for prestigious Beautiful South Awards

Seven of the Island’s leading tourism businesses have been chosen for the finals of the Beautiful South Tourism Awards.

Organised by Tourism South East, this year saw over 120 entries from the cream of the tourism industry in the South East, with 61 businesses selected as finalists. All will be in suspense until the ceremony when they will learn whether they have won Gold, Silver or Bronze. The winners will be announced at The Grand Hotel in Brighton on Thursday 4th of December.

The Isle of Wight finalists are:

Swiss Cottage, Shanklin (Highly Commended in the Guest Accommodation of the Year category)

Shanklin Tourist Information Point (Highly Commended in the Visitor Information Provider of the Year category)

Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park (Finalist in the Holiday Park/Holiday Village of the Year category)

Osborne (Finalist in the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year category)

Corner Cottage, Nettlecombe Farm Holidays (Finalist in the Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year category).

Tom’s Eco Lodge (Finalist in the Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year category)

Owl & Monkey Haven (Finalist in the Small Visitor Attraction of the Year category)

Winners in matching categories will be invited to represent the South East in the National VisitEngland Awards in 2015.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said “The Awards play an important role in recognising the vital contribution tourism makes to the economy of the Island and help businesses feel rightly proud of their achievements.

I’m delighted for all of the finalists who will now be able to go on and compete on behalf of the Island at a national level at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence competition in December.”

Peter Colling, Managing Director of Tourism South East, said “Every year the Beautiful South Awards are a reminder of the amazing wealth of fantastic tourism businesses and experiences South East of England has to offer. And this year the overall standard of entries was higher than ever making it extremely tough for the judges. Some very fine businesses narrowly missed the cut and the finalists truly are the best of the best.”

Shepherd Neame Chief Executive, Jonathan Neame said: “We have a diverse estate of 347 pubs and hotels across London and the South East, along with an award-winning Visitor Centre, so we are aware of the important role tourism plays not only in our business but for the South East economy as a whole. We are delighted to support the industry and recognise outstanding commitment to quality, innovation and service, by sponsoring this year’s Beautiful South Awards.”

For more information about the awards and awards night please contact awards@beautifulsouthawards.co.uk or visit www.beautifulsouthawards.co.uk.

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For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Tel: 01983 201048, 07766 705672, E-mail: sue@visitwight.org

Visit Isle of Wight Ltd
Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight. As well as the consumer website (www.visitisleofwight.co.uk) the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities: www.visitwight.org

Tourism South East is a leading membership-based tourism organisation and provider of tourism services operating across South East England, including Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East and West Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire and Surrey and beyond. More information about Tourism South East can be found at: www.tourismsoutheast.com or telephone 023 8062 5400.

Beautiful South Tourism Awards Finalists and Highly Commended 2014 in Association with Headline Sponsors Shepherd Neame, www.shepherdneame.co.uk