The Isle of Wight is a very special place. It is a special place to live, to work – and to visit.
Each year, we welcome more than 2.4 million visitors to the island, who spend more than £330 million in a normal year.
The overall economic impact on the island is nearly half a billion pounds, and approximately a third of its population rely on tourism and hospitality for their employment.
As we all know, COVID-19 has had a major impact on businesses – and, with a tourism-based economy, it has potentially impacted here more than in some other locations across the UK.
The reopening of the island’s tourism economy in a safe and collaborative way was, and remains, key to the Isle of Wight’s recovery.
VisitEngland, the government-funded national tourism agency, provides regular updates on the levels of confidence people are displaying to travel and visit, and, very early on, we became aware that the demand for staycations was going to be high.
We wanted to ensure that, in reopening our tourism economy, we fully considered the need to protect our local population, who are here all year round and not just for two weeks every year. This was a real conundrum.
That is why, when we were planning for reopening again in response to the Government’s current roadmap out of lockdown, we – along with Visit Isle of Wight – placed the Visit England ‘We’re Good to Go’ standard and its ethos at the heart of everything we developed and communicated.
This shows the tourists, our residents and the local people who work in tourism and hospitality that businesses are following the protocols and doing everything right; we wanted to give confidence to everyone who is touched by tourism and hospitality here on the Isle of Wight.
I would urge you all to bring the ‘We’re Good to Go’ standard into your communications as we begin to cautiously move towards full reopening and, ultimately, the road to recovery.