VISIT ISLE OF WIGHT DISTRIBUTES HOLIDAY GUIDE TO TEMPT WINTER TOURISTS

Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) has taken steps to attract more winter visitors to the Island with the distribution of its latest Shades of Wight brochure – a luxury lifestyle publication which challenges the perceptions of holidaying on the Island, emphasising it as a year-round escape with many “Shades of Wight” to explore.

Filled with 20 pages of some of the Island’s finest hotels, bed and breakfasts and self-catering accommodation, the brochure features a range of inspirational themes and distinctive quality experiences which invite the reader to make a break and explore this Island for all seasons.

During Christmas, 8,000 Shades of Wight brochures will be distributed to three specific demographics across Hampshire and Dorset as well as to hundreds more people who have requested via the Visit Isle of Wight website.

A letter which accompanies the brochure informs readers “You’ll find the perfect place to unwind, whether that’s at a fabulous hotel or vintage airstream, in a smart resort or secluded bay. This is England’s garden isle where there’s plenty to do in the great outdoors… and even more indoors, from touring a sumptuous palace to dining at a restaurant serving five star cuisine”.

Also included in the package are some exclusive offers for discount ferry travel from Southampton Portsmouth and Lymington. These deals are for foot passengers and promote a ‘Drive Less, See More’ trip – a campaign currently running to encourage more people to travel to and around the Island without the use of a car.

Other tempting offers include 50% off cycle hire with back-up services like bag transfer and a range of 2-night accommodation packages.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said: “We want to spread the message that winter is the ideal time of the year to escape and enjoy a few tranquil days on the Island.

“As well as highlighting our stunning coastline, blue flag beaches and heritage attractions there are features on events, towns and villages, cycling and walking routes. We hope this will entice people to people to visit and enjoy one of the many shades of Wight.”

The brochure also explains how to reach the Island, and full details are now featured online at http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/shades-of-wight.

-ENDS-

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

Notes to Editors:
The attached image taken at the launch of the Shades of Wight marketing campaign at Westminster on 17th October 2014 shows (L to R) Lady Penny Cobham, Chairman of VisitEngland, Cllr Ian Stephens, Leader of the IW Council and David Thornton, CEO of Visit Isle of Wight.

During Christmas, 8,000 Shades of Wight brochures will be distributed to three specific demographics across Hampshire and Dorset as well as to hundreds more to people who have requested it from the Visit Isle of Wight website.

The three demographics are (A) People who live in the most sought-after neighbourhoods (B) Professionals in successful careers and (E) Active retirees.

Visit Isle of Wight
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

VISIT ISLE OF WIGHT TARGETS TRAVEL TRADE INDUSTRY

Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) will be positioning the Island as the holiday destination of choice at 16 influential travel trade and consumer holiday exhibitions in 2015, including the hugely popular Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show, the Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show and the BBC Gardeners World and Good Food Show.

Seen as an ideal opportunity to network with other tourism professionals, the Island’s exhibition partnership – made up of some of the Island’s major tourism businesses – will be showcasing the strength of the visitor offer at some of the UK’s largest trade shows.

These include Excursions, seen as the premier one-day group travel exhibition, and the Best of Britain and Ireland (BOBI) – now considered the largest travel trade event of its kind in the UK. The partnership also continues its international reach at Vakantiebeurs in Holland and new for 2015, Vekantiesalon in Belgium.

In total, the Isle of Wight exhibitions partnership, which currently comprises Visit Isle of Wight, Red Funnel, IW Steam Railway, IW Pearl, Isle of Wight Council, The Needles Park, English Heritage, Hovertravel, Southern Vectis, Dinosaur Isle, Vectis Ventures and Wightlink, will promote the Island at 16 holiday shows in 2015:

1. Vakantiebeurs Holland, 14-18 January, http://www.vakantiebeurs.nl/nl-NL/Bezoeker.aspx
2. Excursions, Alexandra Palace, 24 January, http://www.excursions.org.uk/
3. Destinations, Earls Court, 29 January to 1 February, http://www.destinationsshow.com/
4. Vekantiesalon, Brussels, 5-9 February, http://www.brussel.be/artdet.cfm?id=4843&agendaid=1181
5. South West Group Travel Show, Weston Super Mare, 7-15 February, http://southwestgroupshow.com/
6. The Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show, Excel, 12-15 February, http://telegraphoutdoorshow.co.uk/
7. TSE Group Fair, Hampshire, 14th February,
8. and Surrey, 7 March, http://www.tourismsoutheast.com/services-and-support/marketing-and-pr/group-travel/exhibtions/group-travel-fairs.html
9. Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show, NEC Birmingham, 17 to 22 February, http://www.caravancampingmotorhomeshow.co.uk/
10. Tourism & Leisure Show, Colchester, 26 February, http://www.tourismandleisureshow.co.uk/
11. The South-East England Group Visits and Day Out Fair, http://www.sussextourism.org.uk/classification.aspx?cid=15
12. Beautiful South Group Travel Fair, Surrey, 7 March, http://www.tourismsoutheast.com/
13. Best of Britain and Ireland, NEC Birmingham, 11/12 March, http://www.bobievent.com/
14. BBC Gardeners World and Good Food Show, NEC Birmingham, 11 to 14 June, http://www.bbcgardenersworldlive.com/Content/BBC-Good-Food-Show-Summer/5_109/
15. 50+ Show, London Olympia, `14/15 July http://www.50plusshow.com/london/
16. New Forest Show, 28-30 July, http://www.newforestshow.co.uk/

Liz Walker, Destination Development Manager, who represents Visit Isle of Wight on the exhibitions partnership, said: “These exhibitions allow us to target valuable coach and tour operators and group tour organisers such as special interest groups, retirement associations and youth group organisers and the travel trade media.

“It enables the opportunity to sell the Island’s unique attributes to tens of thousands of national and international buyers, with the aim of ensuring the Island is included in future itineraries of groups travelling from within the UK and overseas.”

In 2012 almost 2.4 million overnight trips were taken by domestic residents as part of an organised coach tour in Great Britain, accounting for 8.6 million overnight stays and contributing £617 million to the domestic tourism economy*.

Recognising the huge benefit that groups bring to hotels and attractions, VIOW has recently joined the Coach Tourism Council (CTC) and is currently working on a travel trade development plan for 2015 and beyond.
Chief Executive of VIOW, David Thornton, said: “We are keen to look at the genuine potential for coach travel to the Island in our new marketing plans for 2015 and trade shows are undoubtedly an important part of this marketing mix.

“Not only do exhibitions allow us to network, negotiate and do business on the stand but they also provide opportunities to gather information, learn about current trends in the industry and serve as an economical and effective pathway to new clients and increased industry visibility.”

VIOW would like to hear from anyone involved in the group market so that they can update their system and understand the number and type of businesses that provide services and facilities to this market. If you can help, please e-mail Jill Harlow, our Data Manager, jill@visitwight.org.

The VIOW travel trade development plan for 2015 and beyond will shortly be published on the VIOW industry website www.visitwight.org

-ENDS-

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

Notes to editors:
The attached images show The Isle of Wight exhibitions stand at the BBC Good Food & Gardeners World Exhibition in June 2014. Visit Isle of Wight’s ‘Gardens of the Isle of Wight’ stand was awarded the prestigious Four Star trade-stand award by the Royal Horticultural Society.

The Isle of Wight exhibitions partnership currently comprises Visit Isle of Wight, Red Funnel, IW Steam Railway, IW Pearl, Isle of Wight Council, The Needles Park, English Heritage, Hovertravel, Southern Vectis, Dinosaur Isle, Vectis Ventures and Wightlink.

*Visit England – Welcoming Coaches and Groups:
http://www.visitengland.org/Images/11325.002%20Guidance_Doc_Coach%20Prospectus_interactive_tcm30-42585.pdf

Visit Isle of Wight
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

The Coach Tourism Council
Coach tourism is one of the UK’s biggest travel sectors. Around nine million people take a coach tour each year while in the UK, coaches contribute £2.35 billion to the UK economy. CTC members play a major role in meeting the increasing demand for day excursions, short breaks and holidays by coach which offer unbeatable value for money.
National, regional and family-run companies are among nearly 150 coach tour operator members of the Coach Tourism Council, which was set up 25 years ago to promote travel and tourism by coach. They work closely with another 150 companies and organisations who are also members. They include national and regional Tourist Offices, attractions and destinations, hotels, tour wholesalers, ferry and fixed link operators, ports, ticket agencies and professional advisers. http://coachtourismcouncil.com/

Bringing a taste of the Orient to electric woods

A stunning spectacle of Oriental themed light, sound and entertainment will mark the coming of the Chinese New Year at Robin Hill’s ‘electric woods’ during February half term (2015).

From Saturday 14th February until Sunday 22nd, visitors can experience the park’s mystical woodland illuminated with a far eastern twist to capture the spirit of one of the world’s most popular celebrations.

As dusk falls, the beautiful oriental theme will truly take effect as a dazzling array of coloured lanterns, flags and features – like the stunning ‘Golden Oriole’ bridge with its cascading water and the marble temple – bring the ancient woodland to life.

Visitors can enjoy a stunning sound & light show which creatively interprets an ancient oriental story, and Chinese themed entertainment and dancing, including the authentic performances of a traditional lion dance. Children too can join the celebration by taking part in a real dragon procession, parading through the woods with a 12m long dragon costume, accompanied by music!

An authentic oriental menu will be served at the woodland ponds where floating lanterns will bring magical reflections to the water and themed music will add to the ambience. There will also be the chance to experience a traditional tea ceremony and sample authentic Chinese teas.

The ‘electric woods’ is open every evening from 5pm – 9pm during February half term, 14th – 22nd February. For further details, please visit www.electricwoods.co.uk.

ENDS.

NOTE TO EDITOR

Chinese New Year’s Day falls on Thursday 19th February 2015. The date is calculated according to the Chinese lunar calendar, hence the date is different each year on the Gregorian (internationally used) calendar, but always in the period January 21 to February 20.

For further information, contact Michelle Russell: 07436 283630 / michelle@vectisventures.co.uk

VISIT ISLE OF WIGHT URGES ISLAND BUSINESSES TO SIGN-UP FOR ACOUSTIC ISLE

This February, Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) will be aiming to drive up visitor numbers and tourism spend by hosting Acoustic Isle – a festival of gigs, performances and showcases that will take place across the Island between February 26th and 8th March.

Acoustic Isle will see around 100 events held over 10 nights creating a giant sound system for visitors and local people alike. With an eclectic mix of styles drawing from blues, jazz, folk and funk, the event aims to showcase the Island’s fantastic acoustic acts and artists who will come together to perform under the Acoustic Isle music festival banner.

Worth an estimated £350K to the Island economy when held for the first time in 2014, VIOW hopes the event will attract visitors to take an early holiday break and enjoy “music with soul” in cosy pubs and intimate cafes and restaurants – as well as in quirky, unexpected venues.

Seen as a great opportunity for Island businesses to benefit and increase sales at a traditionally quiet time of the year, Acoustic Isle will also provide an efficient platform for local musicians to increase and maximise connection and interaction.

“David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said: “Visit Isle of Wight remains committed to increasing out-of-season visitors by investing in event marketing and will be producing a wide range of print and digital marketing materials to sell Acoustic Isle off-Island.

“Content is core and I would urge Island musicians and businesses to get involved as quickly as possible if they are to take advantage of this fantastic, free promotional opportunity.

“We are particularly interested in extra-special live music experiences and venues in the unlikeliest of places as these make the best stories and are more likely to grab media attention.”

Any venue owner wishing to get involved and take advantage of this great, free marketing vehicle and drive visitors to their pub, restaurant, café etc should register their interest at www.visitwight.org Accommodation providers wishing to promote special offers and discounts are also asked to contact Visit Isle of Wight.

Acoustic Isle events will be promoted on the website (http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/acoustic-isle) and a digital tool kit providing a range of resources to underpin and support the campaign will shortly be available on the VIOW industry website, www.visitwight.org.

-ENDS-

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

Photos attached from last year’s Acoustic Isle music event. More photos from Acoustic Isle 2014 – https://www.dropbox.com/sh/lzafs1nglh3ag6a/AADBiy6n2uDm070mJ-j4ppzza?dl=0

Acoustic Isle (February 26th and 8th March)

Every short break deserves its own soundtrack. And from February 26th and 8th March, the Isle of Wight will be providing just that, with Acoustic Isle – aimed at anyone wanting to combine a coastal escape with some top quality live music in a wide variety of intimate settings.

It is expected that surprise guests and several top name acts will rub shoulders and share stage space with Island musicians, who have helped to establish the Island’s reputation as being a place where top-quality live music can be found on most nights.

The first Acoustic Isle event was held in March 2014. During the 11-day event, hundreds of performances were given by Island musicians, who came together under the Acoustic Isle banner with a series of intimate gigs in Island pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants.

For full details about Acoustic Isle, visit http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/acoustic-isle.
Photos from Acoustic Isle 2014 – https://www.dropbox.com/sh/lzafs1nglh3ag6a/AADBiy6n2uDm070mJ-j4ppzza?dl=0

Visit Isle of Wight

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

New Garden – New You: Liz Earle to create Horticultural Oasis on Isle of Wight

Skincare guru Liz Earle is set to create a tranquil, relaxing garden on her native Isle of Wight in 2015 – highlighting, once again, a growing “island vibe” which makes this one of the best places in the UK kick all of those New Year resolutions into gear.

“New Year, New You” is the current catchphrase these days for anyone resolving to kick-back, relax, and put themselves into a better frame of mind to cope with all of the stresses and strains of the modern world.

And The Isle of Wight – these days, offering everything from residential yoga retreats to a host of holistic spa treatments – is the near prefect destination for anyone who has resolved to make a fresh start, or simply try something different, in the New Year.

Liz Earle will be setting the example in 2015, by creating a “horticultural oasis” in tandem with her ethnobotanist – the BBC television presenter, author, and RHS ambassador James Wong.

The pair have teamed-up with Ventnor Botanic Garden to transform more than three acres of space into a tranquil haven featuring rare and exotic plants. Wong will be working with gardening experts to create the Liz Earle Garden, which will open early in the New Year, and is aimed at encouraging an entirely new generation of green fingered visitors to enjoy the contemplative space.

Accommodation is offered at “Signal Point” the self-catering cottage opened during 2014 this year. Offering views of the gardens, and the sea, Signal Point has room for six people – and prices range from £425 to £975 per week.

The nearby Crows Nest at the Cabin, meanwhile, continues Ventnor’s tradition as a spa resort by offering spa and holistic treatments to promote well-being and good health for both men and women. The Cabin has the perfect location, next to the sea on the Western end of Ventnor Esplanade. It offers two luxurious treatment rooms, one at beach level and another – The Crow’s Nest – which is an exclusive cedar wood cabin with stunning sea views. A full price list of treatments can be found at http://www.thecabin-ventnor.co.uk/pages/treatment-pricing.

Elsewhere, a Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation Weekend Retreat is being offered by local yoga expert Carol Macartney (http://www.carolmacartneyyoga.co.uk/). The “Retreat from the Mind” is open to anyone looking to experience peace of mind for a few days of self-care, including learning how to breathe properly, look after the body and enjoy the beauty of nature. Based at the award-winning Nettlecombe Farm in Whitwell, the Retreat takes place on the weekends of March 6th-8th, and 13th-15th. The price of £295 includes accommodation in farm cottages, all food (home cooked and vegetarian) and all tuition.

The Island as a whole will also be hitting the right note during the 2015 Acoustic Isle music festival which is this year scheduled to take place between Feb 26th and March 8th. Building on the Island’s strong musical heritage and festival scene, this “unplugged” music event features hundreds of musicians coming together to perform a series of relaxed gigs in Isle of Wight pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants. For full details, visit http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/acoustic-isle.

Ends

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

Cream of the crop Island Tourism Businesses crowned at The Beautiful South Awards

Isle of Wight tourism businesses have been awarded some of the region’s highest accolades at the Beautiful South’s Awards for Excellence held last night (4th December 2014) at the Grand Hotel in Brighton.

The annual awards, organised by Tourism South East and sponsored by Shepherd Neame are now in their 20th year. Held to recognise exceptional levels of customer service and dedication to raising standards in the tourism industry, the ceremony is the event of the year for the South East’s leading tourism businesses, with 60+ award-winners presented amidst a great evening of celebrations and networking for 250+ industry professionals.

It was a particularly good evening for The Isle of Wight’s Owl & Monkey Haven and Nettlecombe Farm Holiday’s Corner Cottage who scooped top Gold awards in the Small Visitor Attraction and Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year categories respectively. Also celebrating their victory was Tom’s Eco Lodge awarded Silver in the Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year category.

Other Island winners were Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park, awarded Bronze in the Holiday Park/Holiday Village of the Year category and Osborne, who also beat off stiff competition to win Bronze in the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year category.

Liz Walker, Visit Isle of Wight Destination Development Manager, who was at the awards ceremony in Brighton said, “This was a truly glittering event that showcased the very best of the South East’s regional tourism. In particular it was so inspiring to see how many tourism businesses from the Island featured in the nominations and subsequently won prizes.

“It demonstrates the calibre of the Isle of Wight as a top-quality tourism destination and the winners should be rightly proud of the accolades that they received at this wonderful event.”

Commenting on the awards, 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. The winners truly are the best of the best and a match for any in the country. We are now looking forward to our winners taking the spoils at Visit England’s National Tourism Excellence Awards in 2015”

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said: “The nominations for the Island businesses were funded this year by Visit Isle of Wight as part of an ongoing strategy to drive up quality and shine a spotlight on the Isle of Wight.

“The Tourism Excellence Awards provide finalists with a moment of well-deserved glory which can be used to market, promote and improve their businesses still further. I offer my hearty congratulations to all the winners, who are all worthy ambassadors for the Island.”

The Visit England National Tourism Excellence Awards ceremony will take place in May (http://www.visitenglandawards.org/).

-ENDS-

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

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

The attached image shows staff from the Isle of Wight Owl & Monkey Haven receiving their Gold award in the Small Visitor Attraction category at this year’s Beautiful South Awards: Left to right: Peter Colling, Managing Director, Tourism South East, Antony Walser, Owl & Monkey Haven, Don Walser, Owl & Monkey Haven, Mark Smith, Board Director, Tourism South East and Rich Clarke, Heart FM Presenter.

More high resolution images are available on this link: http://www.paulfletcherphotography.co.uk/galleries/index.php?do=photocart&viewGallery=1750#page=thumbs

Visit Isle of Wight

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

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, The New Forest and Kent. TSE partners with local tourism businesses and destinations, providing services and expertise to support their performance and growth. http://www.tourismsoutheast.com/ & http://www.visitsoutheastengland.com/