Ballot Papers have been dispatched today

Ballot papers have been dispatched by IWCouncil today, and if you are a proposed levy payer, you should be receiving yours within the next 24 hours. You have until the 12th of July to return the papers to the Council’s ballot officer.

On the Eve of this crucial tourism industry ballot, David Thornton, CEO of Visit Isle of Wight has issued this open letter to the proposed levy payers:

As we approach the eve of the WIGHT BID vote, I want to emphasise a number of key points about the BID that I would like everyone to be clear on.

Whilst Visit Isle of Wight is proposing to manage the BID process and plan, it will be the levy payers who decide how the money raised should be spent.  We believe the BID will raise at least £371,000 a year. The entire budget will be deployed in the delivery of the aims that the tourism industry told us are the priorities during the five month consultation process, but the actual campaigns, activities, channels and media used will be for the levy payers to decide.

Visit Isle of Wight will not retain any of the fund, we will instead “leverage” additional funds to cover the BID administration costs, including the repayment of the loan advanced by IWCouncil to develop a BID in the first place. This will ensure that the entire levy fund is used to deliver the activities that levy payers want to see implemented.

If the vote is successful, soon after the decision is announced we will begin a process of inviting all levy payers to consider putting themselves forward for positions on the Board of Visit Isle of Wight and in the working parties and governance groups that will be created to manage the delivery of the key activities. We will ensure that the working parties are proportionally representative of the tourism and visitor economy sectors across the Island. It will also be important to ensure that small and large operators are represented.

Whilst the aims and tasks of the WIGHT BID are clearly explained in the proposal document, the decisions about choice of media, suppliers, media partners and delivery mechanisms are not. This is deliberate, so that it allows levy payers to consider options and opportunities in real time and make optimum choices that will deliver the best results for the Island.

Of course Visit Isle of Wight believes we have some considerable expertise in this area, but we also know that there are many brilliant websites, booking engines, media channels, tourism experts, techniques and potential partners out there. We want to work with the best of everything to move our economy forward. For instance, I am in advanced partnership discussions with one of Europe’s most respected e-Tourism digital marketing and ecommerce experts about working with us in the future; these are the sort of World-wide experienced professionals, with a sound track record, that we really need to drive our economy forward.

Finally, when I was appointed by the current Visit Isle of Wight board 4 years ago, I maintained, from the outset, that we will only be successful if we all work together. Over the last 11 years we’ve gone from one organisation managing tourism (IWCouncil), to the Chamber & Council, and more recently to 12 board organisations working in collaboration with industry groups. The WIGHT BID is the next step in that evolution, proposing a unified tourism industry that represents everyone within it, where everyone has the right to be heard.

A stronger, collective voice for tourism will be a powerful lobby to bring about the changes and improvements we all seek. I urge you to vote yes in the forthcoming ballot and take this next step forward together.

David A Thornton
Chief Executive / Director of Marketing – Visit Isle of Wight Ltd
The Guildhall, High Street, Newport, Isle of Wight PO30 1TY
Telephone (01983) 521555 EXT 30
Mobile 07515 747658