ISLE OF WIGHT TOURISM CONFERENCE A SUCCESS

A conference to discuss the future of tourism on the Isle of Wight has been hailed a success.

Organised by Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) and the IW Chamber of Commerce, the full-day event was held on Tuesday 24th February at Park Resorts, Thorness Bay, near Cowes, Isle of Wight. The conference attracted more than 200 attendants, including representatives from tourist organisations and those involved in local hospitality businesses.

The programme of presentations was delivered by speakers who all have experience in the tourism industry: James Berresford, Chief Executive Visit England, David Marsh, Chairman Greater Yarmouth Tourism, John Allen, Chairman Tourism Advisory Board, Ian Stephens, Chairman LGA Tourism, Culture and Sport Board, David Groocock, President IW Chamber of Commerce, Kevin Smith CEO, IW Chamber of Commerce, Simon Dabell, Chairman Visit Isle of Wight and David Thornton, CEO Visit Isle of Wight.

Visit Isle of Wight focused on developments since the DMO was set up just over two years ago and James Berresford provided a wider perspective on tourism trends from businesses and from the national organisation Visit England.

The importance of digital marketing was the theme of the presentation from Steve Keenan of Travel Perspective and Robin Hamman of Cybersoc talked about the importance of social media and how to avoid the pitfalls.

The 2015 tourism conference also featured interactive workshops, visiting exhibitors and networking sessions in order to allow tourism operators the chance to network and to maximise their business potential.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight said: “The importance of exchanging information and ideas, developing joint promotions, celebrating successes, discussing issues and seeking achievable solutions and working together in partnership to promote the Island as a high-quality visitor destination was a message all received loud and clear.

“VIOW welcomes the continued support of the IW Council and the Tourism Advisory Board, and looks forward to taking tourism on the Island to a whole new level.”

David Thornton brought the conference to a close with an upbeat presentation on the DMO’s campaigns, promotions and events coming up in 2015. These include Acoustic Isle, an initiative by VIOW to attract visitors during the off-peak period. Starting this Thursday, 26th February, the event will feature more than 100 live performances over 10 days under the Acoustic Isle banner. Full details of the other gigs on offer during Acoustic Isle can be found by visiting www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/acoustic-isle

A report on the 2015 Tourism Conference is now available at 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:

Image shows David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight and James Berresford, CEO VisitEngland, at the Isle of Wight Tourism Conference.

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

MAJOR OBSTACLE RACE ANNOUNCED FOR THE ISLE OF WIGHT: RISE OF THE RONIN

Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) is pleased to announce that the Island will host Rise of the Ronan a major, warrior-themed obstacle race on Bank Holiday Sunday, May 3rd.

A second major event announced in the last month designed to extend the holiday season and attract new visitors – it is expected that more than 1000 competitors will take part in the action-packed race on a heart-pumping assault course that will be specifically designed for Cheverton Farm on the Isle of Wight.

A first for the Island, Rise of the Ronin is a timed event series featuring races at three escalating distances of 5 miles, 10 miles and the 6 hour ‘Sword of Honour’ Enduro event where fitness fanatics can see how many laps they can achieve.

Each 5-mile lap will have upward of 25 man-made obstacles, ranging from walls to mud pits and scrambles to cargo nets. In addition to the competitive heats, Rise of the Ronin races are set-up for all levels and ages as well as complete novice runners who want to engage in a new form of fitness.

Rise of the Ronin focuses heavily on the venue and in particular a tough terrain that is naturally raw and challenging and throws up all manner of feats of strength, effort and endurance to overcome.

This event is organized by Raffine VAP Limited and the organiser, Tim Peace, notes: “We have been working very closely with the destination management organisation, Visit Isle of Wight, and this year we will host our inaugural event on the Isle of Wight at Cheverton Farm on May 3rd.

“As an organiser, my job is to find epic locations to build obstacle races and we have done that. I don’t think many people realise how easy it is to get here or to get around once you are here.

“As well as being visually stunning and a great place to stay, the Island has some of the best ‘natural obstacle’ potential that we’ve ever seen at a race site.”

Visitors are expected from all across the UK and coaches are currently organised for Bristol, Bath, Guildford and Crawley for the 5000+ anticipated footfall over the weekend of the event.

Katie Jones, Sales & Events Manager for VIOW said: “Obstacle racing is experiencing a huge boom right now as it’s so inclusive as a sport.

“You don’t need to book as a spectator, just come along and enjoy the fun at Cheverton Farm on the Isle of Wight.”

Earlier this month, VIOW announced that it had been successful in its bid to secure one of the stages of The Pearl Izumi Tour Series – one of the UK’s leading televised cycle races – which will be held in Ryde on 14th May.

Acquiring Rise of the Ronan is seen as another achievement by the organisation tasked with the job of increasing visitor numbers to the Island.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said: “May is a massive month for outdoor events on the Island and I am delighted that VIOW has secured Rise of the Ronin, which is one of five events that we are using to promote the Island’s suitability as an exciting, outdoor adventure holiday destination.

“The “big Five” are The Isle of Wight Challenge (2/3 May), The Isle of Wight Randonee (3 May),The Pearl Izumi Tour Series cycle race (14 May), the IW Walking Festival (2-17 May) and now, Rise of the Ronin (3 May).
“This is yet further evidence of the Island’s growing reputation for staging premier sporting and outdoor events,” adds David Thornton.

Rise of the Ronin will take place at Cheverton Farm, Cheverton Shute, Isle of Wight, PO30 3JE http://www.chevertonfarm.co.uk/ on Sunday May 3rd. Situated between Newport and Shorwell, this working farm offers self-catering holiday accommodation and is situated just a stone’s throw from the Isle of Wight Mountain Bike Centre trails.

A second Rise of the Ronin obstacle race will take place on National Trust land at The Needles Park on 10th and 11th October 2015. For full details and to book for either the May event at Cheverton Farm or the October event at the Needles Park, please go to www.riseoftheronin.uk

Isle of Wight residents are entitled to a 15% discount off the entry fee. Please enter the IOWRES15 discount code at the checkout. The races start at 9.30am and continue throughout the day and into the evening with a barbeque, a fully-licensed bar and entertainment at 7pm. Spectators are welcome and there is no entry fee. Car parking is £1 per car which will be a donation to local scouts running the car park.

ENDS

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

Notes to editors:

Please find attached images from a similar-style obstacle race organised by Raffine VIP Ltd last year.

The race structure

Sunday 3rd May
0800 hrs Car Park & Registration opens
0930 hrs – 1045 hrs 10 miler starts – waves every 15 minutes
1400 hrs – 1445 hrs 5 miler starts – waves every 15 minutes
1600 hrs 6 hour Enduro starts
1830 hrs 10 & 5 Miler Prize giving ceremony
1900 hrs BBQ and entertainment begin
2115 hrs Final lap cut off time
2200 hrs 6 hour Enduro finishes
2230 hrs Enduro Prize Giving

Entry costs:

Individual 10 miles £60 (Launch Offer)
Individual 5 miles £39 (Launch Offer)
6 Hour Enduro (Individual) £89.00
6 Hour Enduro (Pair Relay) £160
6 Hour Enduro (Triple Relay) £225.00

The entry cost includes a performance T-shirt, Warrior’s medal and a Rise of the Ronin/Mudstacle wrag/buff plus some other goodies in the battle sack.

Winners will be crowned National Age Group Champions and prizes will be awarded for all age groups http://www.riseoftheronin.uk/prizes.html

Raffine VAP Ltd
Raffine VAP Ltd. are a sports events and staffing company specialising in the management of high-quality sports events such as the New Forest Running Festival and Rise of the Ronin Obstacle races. Raffine supply the largest Triathlon series in Europe, the ‘Castle Triathlon Series’ and the Run or Dye brand series with their core team. http://raffine.eu.com/

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

Treat Your Mum with a Mother’s Day Weekend Getaway on The Isle of Wight

Return Wightlink car ferry travel and two night’s stay with breakfast at Eversley Hotel for £99.50 per person

Wightlink Ferries, the ferry company of choice for those travelling to and from the Isle of Wight, is offering all those yet to make Mother’s Day plans the perfect opportunity to surprise their mums with an indulgent weekend on the Isle of Wight.

Nestled within the picturesque Ventnor Park, The Eversley Hotel is the ideal accommodation option for families looking to escape the hustle and bustle of mainland life this Mother’s Day. Two nights stay (14th-15th March) and breakfast for just £99.50 per person.

To book this deal, please call 01983 852244 or email eversleyhotel@yahoo.co.uk

Whilst on the Isle of Wight, there are plenty of different activities to choose from that will cater to the preferences of all mums.

For the adventurous mum…

The Isle of Wight offers an abundance of exhilarating activities. There are many cycling and walking paths sprawling across 500 miles of stunning coastline and scenic countryside. For mums after an adrenalin fuelled adventure, there is the opportunity to give kite surfing a try at Windstalker Island Kite Sports, or for those who love to complete a challenge, Goodleaf Tree Climbing presents the perfect opportunity to take on a new obstacle.

For the cultural mum…

From exploring Osborne house, the estate that was once home to Queen Victoria and her family, or Carisbrooke Castle, the fortress that resisted a siege by the French and Spanish Armada, there are many historic spots to enjoy. A stroll around Ventnor Botanic Gardens or the Island’s culture hub, Ventnor, is also ideal for those visitors looking to add a dose of culture to their getaway.

For the pampered mum…

Mums in need of some well-deserved relaxation can head to one of the Island’s many spas to indulge in a variety of beauty treatments. From delighting in a massage at the Lakeside Park Hotel, to enjoying the hot tub and sauna at Utopia spa, there are many tranquil havens to choose from that would make mum’s feel well and truly pampered.

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, there is no better time to book this getaway and show appreciation to mums in need of a weekend full of indulgence. And with Wightlink’s frequent car ferry service taking car passengers from Portsmouth or Lymington to the Isle of Wight in just over 40 minutes, families don’t have to travel far to feel miles away this Mother’s Day.

ENDS

More information can be found at www.wightlink.co.uk

For more information about Wightlink Ferries, please contact:
Sophy Norris 01392 248 934 sophy.norris@flagshipconsulting.co.uk
Belinda Hallworth 0207 886 8456 belinda.hallworth@flagshipconsulting.co.uk
Nadia Fidler 0207 886 8457 nadia.fidler@flagshipconsulting.co.uk

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.

Prices:

Mainland
Day Return: Car + 7 passengers from £39.90*
Short Breaks (2-4 nights): Car + 7 passengers from £54.50*
*Terms & Conditions apply, subject to availability, valid for sailings 08:00 – 09:59 and 17:01 – 19:00

Island
Day Return: Car + 7 passengers from £39.00*
Short Breaks (2-4 nights): Car + 7 passengers from £54.50*
*Terms & Conditions apply, subject to availability, valid for sailings 08:00 – 09:59 and 17:01 – 19:00

Book Early, Be Flexible, Save Money

More information can be found at www.wightlink.co.uk

For more information about Wightlink Ferries, please contact:
Sophy Norris 01392 248 934 sophy.norris@flagshipconsulting.co.uk
Belinda Hallworth 0207 886 8456 belinda.hallworth@flagshipconsulting.co.uk
Nadia Fidler 0207 886 8457 nadia.fidler@flagshipconsulting.co.uk

New acts added to Isle of Arts line-up, 1-4 May

Isle of Arts festival adds comedy and drama to line-up! Five great new acts have been added to the 2015 programme, making it even more difficult to choose how to best plan your days at the Festival (for which we apologise, really…!)

Comedy for all ages has been included with a Friday headline appearance for comedy legend Barry Cryer. In yet another farewell tour, Baz, having been charged with persistent joking, asks for 20 other shows to be taken into consideration! Please be merciful to the aged accused…..He will be enjoying himself – do join him!

On Monday evening it will be the turn of up-and-coming comedy stars Pat Cahill and Stephen Bailey, in a Live at the Boathouse comedy double bill. Both these young men are rising stars on the comedy circuit and their material has been described as surreal, sharp, absurd and off-beat. You have been warned! (age guide 16+)
Lovers of the theatre can look forward to three superb productions on the Sunday. In the afternoon, renowned actress Linda Marlowe presents her solo show “Berkoff’s Women”, which is a compilation of some of the most rewarding, exciting moments of Berkoff’s female roles, featuring excerpts from many of his plays.

In the evening, The Boathouse will be the intimate setting for “Quentin Crisp – Naked Hope”. Written and performed by actor Mark Farrelly, the show draws on Quentin’s own writings and gives a fascinating insight into the varied life of one of the twentieth-century’s most interesting characters whose views on life and society remain relevant today.

Sunday evening’s other offering “Revolution – the making of a musical” in St. Catherine’s Church takes audiences behind the scenes of a musical in the making, exploring the creative collaboration and telling the gripping and passionate tale of Love, Hope and Freedom set against the backdrop of a changing regime in a country not so far away.

For times, further details and tickets for all these shows please go to www.artsisle.org.

NOTES FOR EDITORS
Isle of Arts is a broadly based Arts festival that takes place in Ventnor on the south coast of the Isle of Wight. The Festival, now in its fifth year, will take place across the bank holiday weekend of Friday 1st May to Monday 4th May 2015.

Our growing band of high-quality sponsors and associates who are working with us to bring this great Arts festival to the Isle of Wight includes Red Funnel, Visit Isle of Wight, Wightlink, Ventnor Business Association, On The Wight, The Isle of Wight County Press, Seasons Newsagents, Melbourne Ardenlea Hotel, Pittis Estate Agents, Shaun Cuff Design, Spar and Ventnor Winter Gardens.

For additional information, please contact Janneke Oxley on janneke@artsisle.org or telephone 01983 853 445 / 07779 113329

http://www.artsisle.org

Enjoy a Celeb Style Wedding on the Isle of Wight with Wightlink Ferries

– Special fares available for all wedding parties –

Wightlink Ferries, the ferry company of choice for those travelling to and from the Isle of Wight, enables all engaged couples the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Hollywood heart-throb Benedict Cumberbatch, and enjoy a lavish wedding on the Isle of Wight.

Wightlink Ferries offers bridal parties, groomsmen and guests heading over to the Isle of Wight for the special day a 20% discount on Standard and Economy Wightlink Fares throughout the year*.

In order to secure these fantastic rates, all enquiries must be directed to:
sales@wightlink.co.uk

Whilst Cumberbatch and his girlfriend Sophie Hunter decided to marry in the stunning 20th century house, Mottistone Manor, there are many other Isle of Wight locations that offer the perfect wedding venue.

From private stately homes, to quirky retro locations and seaside pubs, there is a wide selection of places available that cater to the varying needs of couples looking to mark the special occasion on the Island. For more inspiration, check out: http://www.wightlink.co.uk/stay/

With the Isle of Wight only set to increase in popularity as one of the UK’s most attractive wedding destinations, there is no better time for couples to book up ferry travel in preparation for the Isle of Wight wedding rush that is set to come this year.

*Offer only available on standard and economy fares and excludes certain dates and times throughout the year. Minimum of 10 cars travelling. Valid until 31st December 2015.

ENDS

More information can be found at www.wightlink.co.uk

For more information about Wightlink Ferries, please contact:
Sophy Norris 01392 248 934 sophy.norris@flagshipconsulting.co.uk
Belinda Hallworth 0207 886 8456 belinda.hallworth@flagshipconsulting.co.uk
Nadia Fidler 0207 886 8457 nadia.fidler@flagshipconsulting.co.uk

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.

Prices:

Mainland
Day Return: Car + 7 passengers from £39.90*
Short Breaks (2-4 nights): Car + 7 passengers from £54.50*
*Terms & Conditions apply, subject to availability, valid for sailings 08:00 – 09:59 and 17:01 – 19:00

Island
Day Return: Car + 7 passengers from £39.00*
Short Breaks (2-4 nights): Car + 7 passengers from £54.50*
*Terms & Conditions apply, subject to availability, valid for sailings 08:00 – 09:59 and 17:01 – 19:00

Book Early, Be Flexible, Save Money

More information can be found at www.wightlink.co.uk

For more information about Wightlink Ferries, please contact:
Sophy Norris 01392 248 934 sophy.norris@flagshipconsulting.co.uk
Belinda Hallworth 0207 886 8456 belinda.hallworth@flagshipconsulting.co.uk
Nadia Fidler 0207 886 8457 nadia.fidler@flagshipconsulting.co.uk

NEW CHINESE NAME FOR THE NEEDLES REVEALED

A new Chinese name for The Needles has been revealed following ten weeks of voting in China.

National tourism agency VisitBritain has revealed the new Mandarin name for the landmark attraction as part of its ‘GREAT Chinese Names for GREAT Britain’ campaign.

Out of three possible naming suggestions chosen by the Chinese public, The Needles has decided to adopt the new Mandarin name Hai Huang Ji, translated in English as Poseidon’s Trident. This was the most popular receiving almost a thousand votes.

Now that the winning names have been revealed, VisitBritain has been working together with 101 attractions across the country to decide how they might use these results and the publicity that the campaign has generated.
The Needles has chosen to embrace its new Mandarin name and is briefing staff on the new name and adding it to the attraction’s website and using on social media.

Marino Zanti, general manager of The Needles landmark attraction commented:

“As the most visited landmark and attraction on the Isle of Wight, we’re thrilled to have been featured in this high profile campaign. We’ve seen the Chinese market grow dramatically over the past two years and we hope to welcome many more Chinese visitors to the Needles in coming seasons. ‘Poseidon’s Trident’ is a fitting alternative name for the Needles rocks as an association with the ‘God of the Sea’ befits a national coastal landmark of our stature.”

Joss Croft, Marketing Director at VisitBritain said:

“The campaign has given The Needles huge exposure across China and the opportunity to create a unique affinity with potential Chinese tourists. We hope the attraction’s new Mandarin name raises its profile and enables it to compete effectively for the world’s biggest outbound market, which will deliver local growth and jobs across the south of England.”

China is now the world’s largest outbound market, with visitors to Britain already spending £500 million. VisitBritain has ambitious plans to double the value of that market by 2020 and to ensure that growth is spread across the nations and regions.

For more information about The Needles landmark attraction visit www.theneedles.co.uk or follow on Twitter @VisitTheNeedles

Ends
For further information please contact Richard Clein on 0151 362 0023 or 07803 729133.

Richard Clein MCIPR MPRCA
Director

Boxed Off Communications Ltd
Box Studios, 17 Boundary Street,
Liverpool, L5 9UB
0151 362 0023 | 07803 729133
www.boxedoffcomms.co.uk
Connect on Twitter Linkedin

THE ACOUSTIC ISLE COUNTDOWN HAS BEGUN

It’s nearly here – the Island’s Acoustic Isle takes place 26th February to 8th March and all across the Island, pubs and other venues will throw open their doors to welcome visitors and local people alike.

Acoustic Isle is an initiative by the Island’s official tourism body, Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW), to attract visitors during the off-peak period. For the second year running, VIOW has worked with local businesses to present a fantastic series of performances to bring extra visitors to the Island.
The festival itself will feature more than 100 live performances as a lively music scene and a vibrant arts community come together under the Acoustic Isle banner to produce an infectious mix of harmonies and rhythmic guitars.
Surprise guests and several top name acts will rub shoulders and share stage space with the Island’s own up-and-coming talented 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.

Among the many highlights, enjoy musical performances from such varied artists as the Cat Skellington jazz quartet, the crazed genius of John Otway, British Blues guitar hero, Marcus Bonfanti, London-based Indie Folk duo The Worry Dolls and many more.
Seen as an early season business driver for the Island’s tourism and hospitality industry, VIOW will run a two-week series of ads on commercial radio stations in London, Birmingham, the South Coast and the Thames Valley region. Newspaper competitions and feature articles with leading regional newspapers in these areas will further support the Acoustic Isle message and invite visitors to enjoy a relaxing, pre-Easter break on the Isle of Wight.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight said: “Festivals can play a very important role in stimulating demand for short breaks and Acoustic Isle allows us the opportunity to promote the Island as a coastal escape very early in the season -somewhere visitors can walk, enjoy good food, comfortable accommodation and sample the Island’s rich and diverse musical talent.”
The Acoustic Isle experience begins the moment you step on board the ferry; on the first weekend there will be fourteen live performances on Red Funnel’s sailings in both directions on 28th February and 1st March, and on Wightlink’s car ferry service from Portsmouth on 28th February and 8th March.

Full details of these and the other gigs on offer during Acoustic Isle can be found by visiting www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/acoustic-isle
An Acoustic Isle gig guide will be available from all Acoustic Isle venues, including attractions, cafes, pubs etc, selected shops, ferry terminals and Island tourist information points.
ENDS

For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Tel: 01983 201048, 07766 705672, E-mail: sue@visitwight.org
Notes to editors
Photos from last year’s event and a few promo images for this year can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/v3rycbmbp5ed4wf/AADHXU2sJ3hZnXdxROBy0Ai7a?dl=0
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

DINOSAUR ISLE CELEBRATES MILLIONTH VISITOR MILESTONE

A family from Ventnor got a surprise at Dinosaur Isle on Sunday 8 February when they became the museum’s millionth visitors.

Lee and Alison Starling and their daughters Tamlyn and Kaitlyn walked through the doors just before midday to take the total number of customers since the museum opened in 2001 past the magic number.

As part of the celebrations, Kaitlyn and Tamlyn each put a handprint on a special plinth which will remain outside the museum, recognising the milestone. The family were also given a yearly pass to the museum.

The museum has predicted it would reach the millionth customer figure on the day and was hosting a free fun day.

General manager Peter Pusey said: “We needed 474 people to come through the doors on Sunday, but ended up with nearly 1400 in total at the free fun day. The Starling family were the lucky ones to take the number past one million.

“I think they were a little shocked but were very happy and had a great time at the museum. It is certainly something they won’t forget for a while.”

Alison Starling added: “This was our first visit to Dinosaur Isle as we’d seen the event advertised and because there was plenty to do for the kids we decided to pay a visit.

“We were really surprised when the alarm sounded and to then be told by staff that we were the millionth visitors. It was so lovely for Tamlyn and Kaitlyn to have their hands cast in the cement outside, which will be lovely for them to always see as they get older.

“We feel honoured and would like to thank Dinosaur Isle for a lovely day and we are looking forward to spending more time there this summer with our free yearly pass we won.”

The museum first opened in August 2001 and has been going strong ever since. It holds tens of thousands of fossils, and regularly hosts popular fossil walks and school visits. Memorable discoveries down the years include a new species of pre-historic crocodile and a partial skeleton of a Brachiosaur.

Councillor Shirley Smart, Executive member for tourism and economy, said: “I was very happy to be at the museum on Sunday when the Starling family became the millionth visitor.

“The museum is a major part of the Isle of Wight’s tourism industry and I would like to congratulate all the staff and volunteers, past and present, who have helped the attraction reach this incredible milestone.”

Photos from the fun day are available to view on Dinosaur Isle’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dinosaurisle.
END

#wightlive leads to prestigious award nomination for Wightlink

An innovative social media campaign, aimed at raising the profile of the Isle of Wight’s diverse festival scene, has led to Wightlink, and its PR agency Flagship Consulting, being shortlisted in the prestigious Travel Marketing Awards.

The ferry operator invested in its #wightlive campaign, spearheaded by Flagship, as a way of publicising the host of festivals and events on the Island and boosting tourism during last year’s summer months. The campaign, run in collaboration with Visit Isle of Wight, was aimed at promoting all cultural and sporting events by encouraging people to upload pictures of their activities to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram via www.wightlive.co.uk The promotion also included more than £3,000 worth of prizes, with winners chosen through an online public vote.

The initiative resulted in over 2000 competition entries and a 155% increase in social followers during the campaign, meaning Wightlink now has the largest number of followers across the Island’s tourism sector. The success of the campaign means it is planned to run again during this summer.

Wightlink’s #wightlive campaign has now been shortlisted in the Travel Marketing Awards, which recognise marketing excellence in the travel industry. The event is being held at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Thursday 19 March 2015.

Mark Persad, Head of Marketing at Wightlink, said: “We are thrilled that the #wightlive campaign has been shortlisted, yet again putting the Island’s tourism industry on the national map. Social media is an excellent way of promoting everything the Isle of Wight has to offer and it’s great that the Flagship and Wightlink’s innovative use of these communication tools has been recognised.”

ENDS:

Acoustic Isle offers musical interludes to the Isle of Wight

Enjoy a coastal escape and a musical interlude on the Isle of Wight this month, as the popular Acoustic Isle returns (26 February – 8 March, 2015) with around a hundred gigs being performed in a winter-blues-beating music event across the Island.

The festival, featuring the best ‘unplugged’ local talent and other artists, offers visitors a great excuse for a perfect break to the beautiful, culture-rich Isle of Wight.

Already home to two of the biggest music festivals on the summer calendar, the Isle of Wight Festival and Bestival, Acoustic Isle offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy a coastal spring break, combining the captivating landscape with fantastic dining options and accommodation, alongside the very best local musical talent that the island has to offer. With such a diverse range of gigs across so many venues, including pubs, bars, cafes, restaurants and even a few more unusual locations, there is sure to be something for everyone.

The Acoustic Isle experience begins the moment you step on board the ferry; local musicians will be performing on Red Funnel car ferries for the first weekend of the event (Saturday 28 February – Sunday 1 March, 2015). Meanwhile, Wightlink Ferries host live music on board their Fishbourne (Isle of Wight) to Portsmouth route on Saturday 28 February.

Among the many highlights of this ten day festival, enjoy an afternoon of gypsy jazz with the Cat Skellington jazz quartet in the cosy atmosphere of the Allium Cafe at the Garlic Farm, or for an alternative experience, Wight Karting presents an unusual combination of up and coming Island talent alongside the excitement of the race track. Alternative country/soft rock soloist Sam Sheasby makes an appearance in the Pearl Cafe at Isle of Wight Pearl situated on the stunning coastal location of Military Road. London-based Indie Folk duo The Worry Dolls, who played 2013’s Glastonbury, feature at the All Dayer Folk Art and Craft Event at East Cowes Town Hall, and Opera in Space – in partnership with Vaguely Sunny – bring a blend of music and movement in a unique re-imagining of Stabat Mater by Pergolesi to Ryde Aspire. Phil Beer, the multi-instrumental half of the west country’s award winning acoustic duo Show of Hands, is to play an already sold-out gig at Quay Arts, Newport. Dimbola Lodge is also getting into the spirit of Acoustic Isle with the very entertaining and energetic stage performance of John Otway. Full details of the many gigs on offer during Acoustic Isle can be found by visiting www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/acoustic-isle

Those looking for accommodation during Acoustic Isle will benefit from a wide range of stylish retreats from hotels, traditional bed and breakfasts, holiday cottages and apartments. Search and book somewhere to stay by visiting www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/accommodation.

Travellers to the Island are set to benefit from a South West Trains flat fare offer, meaning all off-peak day return tickets every Tuesday to Saturday (24 February – 4 April, 2015) will cost £15 for adults and £7 for children. “All in one” tickets can also now be booked from National Express destinations straight through to Ryde, Sandown, Ventnor, East Cowes and Newport via cross-Solent operator Hovertravel and bus company Southern Vectis.

Acoustic Isle, which is now in its second year, is an initiative by the Island’s official tourism body, Visit Isle of Wight. Chief Executive David Thornton said: “If you’ve not yet had chance to get away this year, Acoustic Isle offers the perfect opportunity. Not only will you get to experience a coastal escape to the enchanting Isle of Wight, with its awe-inspiring landscape, comfortable accommodation and delicious cuisine, but you’ll also get to sample the Island’s rich and diverse musical talent.”

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Notes to Editor:

For media outlets interested in running promotional activities for Visit Isle of Wight’s Acoustic Isle event, we are able to offer a limited supply of car and passenger Wightlink car ferry tickets, as well as Wightlink Fast Cat foot passenger tickets. For more information, including conditions of availability, please contact Glyn Taylor, WeDoPR, on 01983 241895 or email news@wedopr.co.uk

Images attached of Shanklin Chine in moonlight and Acoustic guitar on Yarmouth Pier