The annual Visit Isle of Wight Tourism Conference gets underway next Wednesday (20th November).
Hosted at Parkdean Resort’s Lower Hyde Holiday Park in Shanklin, this year’s conference will have dual themes around the importance of digital impact and accessibility in tourism.
The morning session will see invited speakers from differing sectors. Speakers this year include:
- The Chair of Tourism South East Mark Smith, giving an overview of national and local trends;
- Andrew van der Feltz, Senior Business Development Director at Expedia will talk about the importance of the digital platform in marketing;
- Chris Veitch, Government Disability Champion for the tourism sector and Vice Chair at Tourism for All will discuss the value of accessibility tourism – worth an estimated £12 billion per year;
- John Heather from NFU Mutual will be highlighting the importance of cyber security, a very topical issue;
- Ian Griffiths, Chair of the Board of Directors at Visit Isle of Wight will give an insight to his role and experiences, and
- Will Myles, MD at Visit Isle of Wight, will present an overview of the Island’s marketing plan for 2020.
Compered Q&A sessions
There will be a compered Q&A session after each session of speakers to allow delegates ask more detailed questions from the experts.
The afternoon sees specialist workshops around accessibility, digital, and the Visit Isle of Wight marketing plan for 2020, allowing delegates to further explore how they could help increase visitor traffic to the UK’s number one holiday island.
Myles: Network among BID levy payers
Will Myles, MD at Visit Isle of Wight said:
“The tourism conference is a benefit for the Wight BID levy payers.
“We host it every year and it allows them the opportunity to network amongst themselves, also to hear from industry experts and to get that expert knowledge and that expert advice that sometimes might help them with their own businesses going forward.”
Myles: Digital marketing, accessibility and cyber security
Speaking of the themes to this year’s conference, Will said:
“Digital marketing is the way forward, that’s where people get the best return on investment. So for people with small budgets, for example, or even large budgets, the digital marketing space is where you need to be and where you need to get the best return on your investment.
“Accessibility is worth £12 billion pounds in the UK tourism sector and yes, we want a piece of that, but equally it’s about giving people the opportunity to get away on holiday to enjoy themselves.
“It’s a key message coming out from Visit England to develop that. It’s a key message coming out from government, part of their industrial strategy with the tourism sector deal relates to accessibility, and we want to be part of that and we want to give people who perhaps may feel as though they can’t go away on holiday, that the Island’s for them and we want to give them the opportunity to come and enjoy themselves.
“Our industry communications partner, NFU Mutual will be there talking about cyber security as well. So there’s something really in this for everyone and if you can go home with a few nuggets from the day to help your business, that is what this tourism conference is about. It’s about informing, getting information and being able to take that back and implement that into your business.”
Get involved with marketing plan
Will added that it was a great opportunity to hear about the Visit Isle of Wight marketing plan for 2020 and to learn how to get involved in it:
“The marketing plan for the Island is really important. People can buy into that, they can buy into the ethos of where we are taking it, where we take the Island, where we take it off Island. People on the Island won’t necessarily see what we’re doing, but they will have a better understanding of what we are saying to people, to attract people to this Island.
“We want to increase tourism on the Island, want to increase tourism spend, want to increase the length of stay and also to look at various different themes that people can engage with and to extend that season out to make sure the Island is not just that big six within the summer period, we want an all year round location for people to come and visit.”
Meet the exhibitors
A select number of exhibitors will also be at the conference, including Portsmouth University, Expedia, cross Solent transport operators, EV Connections who specialise in providing electric car charging points across the Isle of Wight and Isle Access, the local accessibility champions.
“We have people talking about electric vehicle opportunities at their various sites, how we can engage with that and how you can make the Island more accessible for people with electric vehicles because again, that’s the future. There’ll be Green Star ambassadors there to sign people up for the Green Star scheme, which is all about sustainable travel and sustainable ways of people getting around the Island.
“Isle Access will be the talking to people about how they can get involved with individual businesses, coming out to them and doing some studies, to show how you can make simple changes to your premises, make it more accessible for people with accessibility needs.”
Free bus on the day
Adding to the Visit Isle of Wight’s commitment to sustainable travel, Southern Vectis are offering delegates the opportunity to use the bus network for free on the day, if they have signed up for the conference.
The conference invite is open only to Wight BID levy payers and voluntary contributors to the Wight BID, allowing them free access to information geared to helping them succeed in an increasingly competitive environment.
For more information about the conference and to register for your free place, please visit the Website.
Our thanks to Visit Isle of Wight for sponsoring for this feature. They and other businesses and organisations taking paid promotion enables you to continue reading OnTheWight for free.