Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW), the Isle of Wight Council and Island Roads are pleased to announce that after months of negotiation, they have been successful in their bid to host one of the stages of The Pearl Izumi Tour Series – one of the UK’s leading televised cycle races, bringing action and excitement to the town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight.

The Pearl Izumi Tour Series – put together by the same team behind the organisation and promotion of Tour of Britain – brings together the very best in British professional teams and high-profile, celebrity riders, competing on town and city centre circuits in front of packed crowds as a part of a full day of cycling activities.

The main, team-based race, which is open to 10 teams comprising of five professional cyclists, is a highly popular and competitive event. Registered entrants have the chance to ‘test their mettle’ around the circuit and against the clock. The team with the fastest lap times will be presented with winners’ medals on the professional podium!

Taking place at 10 venues around the UK in May and June, the star-studded sporting event will use a circular route around the town on Thursday, 14th May. Ryde town centre will be converted into a professional race circuit giving residents and visitors an adrenaline-fuelled glimpse of Britain’s top professional cyclists battling out in our streets.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said: “Attracting high profile events like The Pearl Izumi Tour Series is only possible because we have Visit Isle of Wight, our own destination management organisation (DMO) building partnerships and opportunities.

“This single event should deliver approaching £750,000 of media value and visitor spend this year alone.

“Winning the bid to host the race on a Thursday rather than the usual Tuesday is a major coup for the Island as it provides an opportunity to build long weekend business in mid May.”

Councillor Jonathan Bacon, Leader of the Isle of Wight Council, added: “It is very pleasing we have been able to secure this prestigious event to come to the Isle of Wight in such a wonderful location. The council recently secured nearly £1 million under the government’s second Local Sustainable Transport Fund and the money is being used to support local initiatives and projects such as ‘Bicycle Island’ to encourage people to leave their cars at home and use sustainable transport. Part of the LSTF grant can be used to support local events and we are delighted to be supporting such an important sporting occasion using some of the funding, because major sporting events such as the Pearl Izumi Tour are shown to inspire people take part in recreational cycling.

“Elsewhere the tour has attracted thousands of spectators and I am sure local residents will come along and support this event and join in the fun. It is also a great opportunity to celebrate the Island as a place where people want to live, work and visit.”

Alastair Grant, Commercial Director at Sweetspot, commented “We are excited to be bringing the Pearl Izumi Tour Series to Ryde and the Isle of Wight, which will be the first, not just for the Series, but also for one of SweetSpot’s event. We are sure that residents from across the Island will be excited by the chance to watch Britain’s fastest teams in action, and hope lots of fans travel with us to enjoy the race in a beautiful setting.”
The team-based, cycle race series, which attracts thousands of spectators, will be televised the following evening on sports channel ITV4, bringing action-packed and exciting team-based racing into living rooms across the UK.

The Pearl Izumi Tour Series is being funded by VIOW and LSTF – the project which aims to improve and promote the Island’s sustainable transport network – with support from Island Roads, Ryde Town Council, Ryde Business Association, Southern Vectis and ferry operators Wightlink and Red Funnel.

The staging of the event, which follows months of negotiation led by VIOW, will cost just over £90,000 – a joint investment of £27,250 by the DMO and partners, £45,000 from the LSTF fund and a cash equivalent of up to £20,000 by other partners including Island Roads.

Paul Herbert, Service Director at Island Roads said: “As an Island company passionate about improving the highways network for the benefit of all road users, we are delighted to be playing our part in supporting this high profile event which will bring both positive publicity and an economic boost to the Island.”

With a wide range of community activities and support events planned for the 14th May, plus the main Pearl Izumi Tour Series race at 7.00pm, there’ll be plenty to see and do for local residents and visiting spectators alike.
The race route and full schedule of events will be available by the beginning of April.


For further information including interviews, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Tel: 01983 201048, 07766 705672, E-mail:

Notes to editors:

Image attached (to announce The Pearl Izumi Tour Series being held in Ryde, Isle of Wight). Left to right; Paul Wyatt – Ryde Business Association, Cllr Jonathan Bacon, Leader, Isle of Wight Council, Lee Matthews, Recreation and Public Spaces Manager, Isle of Wight Council, Roi Milburn, Mayor of Ryde Town Council, Cllr Luisa Hillard, Isle of Wight Council’s Executive member for sustainability, environment and public realm, Paul Herbert – Service Director for Island Roads,David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, Tim Blackmore, Commercial Assistant, Southern Vectis. Front James Sumner (cyclist) TAV Cycles, Ryde

The Pearl Izumi Tour Series

The staging of the event, which follows months of negotiation led by VIOW, will cost just over £90,000 – a joint investment of £27,250 by the DMO and partners, £45,000 from the LSTF fund and a cash equivalent of up to £20,000 by other partners including Island Roads.

The event organisers, Sweetspot, believe the event will bring an economic impact of £447K to the Island (see below). The TV coverage on ITV4 is worth £250K, plus a print value of no less than £50K, which equates to an overall value of £750K in terms of economic impact and positive PR.

The full list of ten teams teams for the Pearl Izumi Tour Series will be announced at the Series launch on Thursday, 26th February, alongside the full calendar of venues for the 2015 Pearl Izumi Tour Series, the seventh season of the unique team-based cycle race Series, with the official launch of the Series at Madison’s IceBike trade show. For more information, visit

SweetSpot are cycling specialists, currently organising a wide portfolio of events throughout the year. You can follow the links below to find out more about all of our world-class events.

SweetSpot Group are a sports events and marketing company specialising in the creation and execution of high-quality, annual sporting events. SweetSpot were behind the successful revival of the Tour of Britain, the UK’s largest professional cycle race, in 2004 after a five-year absence, which now forms a cornerstone of the British sporting calendar and is the country’s largest free-to-watch sporting event.

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 ( the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities:


Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) and the IW Chamber of Commerce are asking businesses to debate the future of tourism at a conference taking place on the Island on Tuesday 24th February.

Aimed at tourism providers and related businesses, the conference will identify and discuss many of the issues the sector is currently facing, and will hopefully play a role in shaping the future agenda for the Island as well as raising the profile and importance of the visitor economy – worth an estimated £520 million to the Island.

The conference opens at 9.00am and morning speakers include James Berresford, the CEO of Visit England as well as Council, Chamber and Visit Isle of Wight presentations.

David Thornton CEO of Visit Isle of Wight will present the 2015 marketing strategy, themes and campaigns during the day.

The morning will include a presentation from a mainland resort in the UK where tourism businesses can find out more of the challenges they share with other resorts. Afternoon speakers include a captivating talk by the former travel editor of the Sunday Times on social media and how to make the most of it, a session on cyber bullying and how to protect your online reputation, details about the Tourism South East Awards scheme, and a workshop opportunity for everyone to share views and ideas about the future of tourism on the Isle of Wight.

The event will also feature a trade exhibition and short break-out sessions to give people a chance to network with fellow delegates and speak directly with key speakers.

David Thornton, Chief Executive of VIOW said: “We face many challenges that require adapting to new ways of doing business, accessing markets and funding.

“Finding possible solutions to these challenges is the underlying theme for the industry conference and I would urge all travel and tourism operators to attend and be part of the solution”.

The VIOW Tourism Conference 2015 will take place from 9.00am to 4pm on Tuesday 24th February at Park Resorts, Thorness Bay, near Cowes, Isle of Wight,

Admission to this event is by ticket only, reserved in advance, and includes lunch, kindly sponsored by Wighfibre, the Isle of Wight’s provider of Fibre Optic Broadband, telephones and TV

To book a FREE place – maximum 2 delegates per business – please go to the tourism industry website, and click on the 2015 Tourism Conference banner.


For further information including interviews, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Tel: 01983 201048, 07766 705672, E-mail:

Notes to editors:

Image – James Berresford, Chief Executive, VisitEngland

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 ( the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities:


A new grant funding opportunity dedicated to supporting sustainable transport projects on the Island has been announced by Visit Isle of Wight and the Isle of Wight Council.

In 2015, Island businesses, organisations and community groups will be able to apply to the “Drive Less, See More” grant scheme, which will be administered by Community Action IW. They can seek financial support of up to £10,000 for projects which help visitors to travel around the Island by bus, train, bike, on foot or electric vehicle and help to grow the value of the visitor economy.

The grant funding has grown from Isle of Wight Council’s previously successful applications to the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF). A whole new series of green transport initiatives supported by a second central government funding bid will be announced this year.

The news of the new grant funding scheme is being welcomed by the Isle of Wight Council’s Executive member for sustainability, environment and public realm, Councillor Luisa Hillard, who said: “The LSTF funding is already making a real difference to how visitors travel around the Island, including the popular Coaster Bus Service and the many improvements made to cycling and walking routes. It is hoped these innovative projects will inspire even more Island businesses to apply to the Drive Less, See More Grant Scheme to make their project a reality”.

This new grant scheme is hot on the heels of last year’s successful “Bicycle Island” Development Grants Scheme that saw a number of new cycle tourism services developed across the Island. The Drive Less See More scheme expands this idea, to allow applications not just about cycling but from ANY form of sustainable transport. Essentially, any organisation with a great idea that helps get visitors to experience the Island in a more sustainable way can apply for funding.

Drive Less See More has been used by Visit Isle of Wight in 2014 to brand promotions that attract more car free tourists to enjoy an Island holiday. It encourages them to leave the car behind and enjoy the real Isle of Wight on a variety of transport modes.

Tom Ransom from Visit Isle of Wight said: -“Adverts and promotions on the London Underground and in the national press in 2014 have focused on the Isle of Wight being an easy and fun place to take a car-free break. We already have an enviable range of car-free holiday options but see the sector expanding significantly in 2015.”

For further information, and to download the full Drive Less, See More Grant Scheme guidance and application form, please visit or contact Community Action Isle of Wight: email or telephone 01983 524058.


For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Tel: 01983 201048, 07766 705672, E-mail:

Notes to editors:

The Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) was launched in September 2010. The Fund allows local transport authorities outside London to “build on their plans for sustainable travel measures that support economic growth and reduce carbon”. In December 2013 the Government announced that a further £78.5 million of revenue funding was to be available across the country for more LSTF projects in 2015/16. Councils have to go through a competitive bidding process to be granted any funds.


A fossil of a 120 million year old shark, which was discovered on Sandown beach, has gone on display at Dinosaur Isle Museum in the town.

The fossil of the Egertonodus has been described as one of the most complete sharks of its kind to ever have been found in England and is an extremely rare occurrence of exquisite preservation.

Parts of the fossil were found on separate occasions, the first by local enthusiast Kai Bailey in early 2013, and the second by holidaymaker Stephanie Watson who was visiting the Island with her family later that year.

It is the first time skeletal remains of this type of shark have been discovered on the Island. The fossil not only shows the skull, but also the fin spines in position in the body, as well as the cartilage that would have supported it, a pectoral fin and the ribs. It is thought the shark was around 1.5 metres in length.

Kai, who found the first piece of the shark, regularly returned to the area to see if he could find any further remains. He said: “When I first found the shark I brought it into Dinosaur Isle as I hadn’t seen anything quite like it before.

“Over the next year I visited the site of the find quite frequently to see if any more remains could be found and almost a year after finding the skull I found part of the belly as well”.

Councillor Shirley Smart, Executive member for tourism and economy, added: “The council is very grateful to both Kai and Stephanie for donating their finds to Dinosaur Isle so they can be enjoyed by visitors to the museum.

“Experts at the museum say that it is incredibly rare to find any more than the teeth or the fin spines of sharks as a fossil, yet more than half of the animal has been preserved. I am sure visitors will enjoy it for many years to come.”

Dinosaur Isle Museum is very grateful to Kai and Stephanie for finding the specimen, and to the Friends of Dinosaur Isle for assisting the acquisition.

Notes to Editors:

A photo of the fossil is attached for your use. Please credit IW Council and Dinosaur Isle Musuem if you use this photo.
Issued by:

Simon Butler, Media Relations Officer
Tel: 01983 821000 ext 6254
Mob: 07976 347636

Travel with Wightlink Ferries and get some ‘Room to Breathe’ this winter – Winter family breaks from £265. Romantic luxury winter breaks from £365 –

Wightlink Ferries, the ferry company of choice for those travelling to and from the Isle of Wight, has launched its winter “Room to Breathe” campaign, which will run until end-March 2015. Focussing on inspiring and promoting travel to the Isle of Wight during the off-peak months, the campaign showcases the vast range of accommodation, wide open spaces and off-peak activities available across the Island.

Mark Persad, Head of Marketing, Wightlink Ferries, said: “The winter months offer a new dimension to the Isle of Wight; there are less crowds, open spaces, unspoilt beaches, homely pubs and restaurants and some superb local cultural festivals and independent shopping.

“It is perfect for families during the off-peak season, particularly those with young children who don’t wish to travel too far for their great escape, whilst also suiting couples who are looking for that peaceful retreat from the daily grind. The winter Isle of Wight offers an uplifting and invigorating experience that should not be missed and we hope Wightlink will be showing this to more visitors this season.”

Those looking to escape the mainland with their families for some room to breathe during the colder months can now take advantage of family weekend breaks priced from £265. This price includes return ferry travel and 3 nights stay for up to six people at the Old Mill Holiday Park’s Pine Cabin in St Helens in January. For a family of four, this works out to be just £22 per person per night.

Couples seeking a romantic getaway during January can travel and stay on the Isle of Wight with Wightlink and The Hambrough from £365. Including return ferry travel, two night weekend stay in an executive room, full English breakfast, cream tea with prosecco and a two course meal for two; couples can retreat to this luxury boutique accommodation to enjoy unrivalled views of the sea above the fishing harbour in Ventnor.

When planning a trip to the Island, travellers should look no further than Wightlink’s special edition of its lifestyle guide to the inside track on the Island, “Wightlife”. For the first time ever “Wightlife” can be downloaded through Apple Store, Google Play, Amazon and at for on-the-go holiday research and planning.

And, if that doesn’t offer enough inspiration, holiday planners can see the number of winter activities available across the Island for themselves in Wightlink’s ‘Room to breathe’ video series. The videos can be viewed on the dedicated Room to Breathe website page:

For press interested in a trip to the Isle of Wight with Wightlink to see why a winter break should be on everyone’s “must do list”, we would be delighted to arrange a one night stay for two this January.
This would include ferry crossings, B&B and entry to one attraction. We may also be able to arrange one meal, depending on what the trip includes.

We would ask for the coverage to appear before mid-March 2015.

For more information about Wightlink Ferries, please contact:

Belinda Hallworth 0207 886 8456
Sophy Norris 01392 248 934
Nadia Fidler 0207 886 8457

Wightlink – Part of Island Life

Wightlink is the leading cross-Solent ferry operator carrying almost five million holidaymakers and Islanders across the Solent to the Isle of Wight every year. Nine ferries on three routes provide Island-wide coverage and complete 48,000 sailings a year giving Islanders an easy and frequent service to the mainland, and tourists an accessible way to enjoy a taste of Island life.

You can step off the train from London, hop on a Wightlink catamaran and be on the Island in just 22 minutes, the car ferries take around 40 minutes from Portsmouth and Lymington and sailings between Portsmouth and Fishbourne run 24 hours a day. On board, passengers and drivers alike can relax in the lounges and enjoy some refreshments before arriving on the Island to enjoy the range of attractions, events and experiences that make the Isle of Wight a leading destination for tourists.

The opening of the Hindhead Tunnel in Surrey has cut journey times to Portsmouth from Greater London. By contrast, Wightlink’s port at Lymington is reached by an attractive drive through the scenic New Forest.

Wightlink has a long and proud history of supporting holidaymakers and local people alike. It works closely with the tourism organisation Visit Isle of Wight to promote the Island as one of the UK’s top visitor attractions. Closer to home, the company backs Island charities, arts groups and sports teams to the tune of £350,000 a year.