News of strong growth in the Isle of Man’s visitor economy has been welcomed by Manx National Heritage, which is currently seeing the benefit of increased visitor numbers generated through joint strategic planning and strong partnership working in the visitor sector.
Increased visitor numbers to the Island have contributed to strong growth and significantly improved revenues at a number of the Isle of Man’s national heritage sites, which attracted almost 320,000 visits in 2013.
Edmund Southworth, Director of Manx National Heritage said:
“Despite challenging conditions in the UK economy, we have seen strong growth in key areas of our operations. Visits from core audiences such as members of the National Trust have increased substantially. Our sites have attracted almost 16,000 National Trust visits, 33% above last year’s visits from this audience between January and August. Similarly, we have seen strong growth in the Group Travel Market, which generated a 7% increase in visitor numbers and 16.5% increase in revenue during the 2013 visitor season when compared with the previous year.
The achievements are a reflection of strong partnership working across Government and a cross section of private sector businesses, together with a significant amount of strategic planning”.
During 2014, Manx National Heritage have undertaken a broad number of initiatives to attract both local and international audiences. These have included actions such as preparing an Audience Development Plan for the Island’s national heritage attractions. The plan identifies ways in which Manx National Heritage will attract visits from both new and existing audiences through developments such as the launch of family friendly activities, exhibitions and public events. This sits alongside a busy programme of gallery redisplays and investing in maintaining our physical heritage assets. And we have continued to target the group travel market following continuing year on year growth since our campaign began back in 2009/10.
Recent investment at Rushen Abbey to make the site more attractive to the family audience has generated a 33% increase in visitor numbers to the site, whilst projects such as the launch of Celtic Style exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Archibald Knox has helped generate a 35% increase in visitor numbers and 21% increase in retail revenue at the House of Manannan and a refurbishment of the Manx Museum Shop helping to generate 16% increase in retail revenue.
Edmund continued: “Moving forward, Manx National Heritage aims to build on its achievements, increasing visitor numbers and revenue from both local and international audiences. We will continue to work on developing activities to encourage visits from the local family audience, whilst also working towards refreshing our offering and maintaining properties in our care. Over the next year, the world famous Laxey Wheel will receive a new coat of paint; the Grove Museum in Ramsey will have roof repairs and the Nautical Museum in Castletown will receive much needed attention.
Alongside this, we will continue to support the visitor economy through partnership working and attending trade events such as Best of Britain and Ireland and the World Travel Market with industry partners to place the Isle of Man on a global stage. We will also provide a lively and dynamic programme of exhibitions and events to attract new and existing audiences, whilst also continuing to extend the visitor season”.