A gift shop in Ryde has become the latest private-sector business to take up the tourism mantle and set themselves up as official Tourist Information Point (TP) on the Island.
Kollective Gifts, located on the Esplanade in Ryde, has today (Friday) become the Island’s second TP, with Seven – a café/bistro and coffee house in Brighstone, opening next Thursday (8th August).
Cllr Wayne Whittle cut the ribbon as he officially opened the information point, which is to be run by shopkeeper Emma Lavers.
Vernon Cottage in Shanklin – which was officially launched last month by VisitEngland CEO, James Berresford – was the first business to receive the support of Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) and partners when it opened its doors to the visiting public on 18th July.
Currently run as a TP, the Ventnor Seasons newsagents will be getting a makeover in time for the Ventnor Fringe Festival, which runs from 14th to 17th August. All will be promoted by VIOW as the focal point in their respective areas for those seeking local knowledge.
David Thornton, Chief Executive, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd, said:
“All of our tourist information points are staffed by friendly, informative people. Sites are highly prominent and virtually unmissable to any visitor to these popular towns and resorts.
“Our role in all of this has been to help businesses with the initial set-up, design what they need, provide advice and a list of useful contacts to get the operation up and running, and I would like to thank the Isle of Wight Council for providing some of the funding to help us deliver this pilot scheme and also the businesses who have worked hard to provide these fantastic facilities which the Island can be proud of.”
Tourist Information Points are now located in the following areas of the Isle of Wight:
• Shanklin Tourist Information Point: Vernon Cottage, 1 Eastcliff Road, Shanklin, Isle of Wight PO37 6AA.
• Ryde Tourist Information Point: Kollective Gifts, Esplanade, Ryde, PO33 2DY.
• Ventnor Tourist Information Point: Seasons Newsagents & Post Office, 8-10 High Street Ventnor Isle of Wight PO38 1RY.
Further TPs are planned for later in the year, and VIOW reports they are already in discussion with businesses in Sandown, Godshill, Freshwater Bay, Newport, Yarmouth and Cowes.
VIOW is also creating three temporary “pop up” information services on Red Funnel and Wightlink ferries during the Festival of the Sea weekends: 14th/15th and again on the 21st/22nd September. The Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for the Island in keen to test out the effectiveness of on-board information services and has selected both weekends because they are the opening and closing dates of the Festival the Sea promotional period on the island.
Local businesses that feel that they would benefit from the extra promotional exposure to ferry visitors and are able to devote a little time during the weekends are being encouraged to volunteer for duty as a tourism ambassador and provide island information as well as plug their own businesses during the ferry crossings.
David Thornton said:
“This is a floating experiment to investigate the potential for creating a longer term tourist information service on the ferries. We will learn about what sort of information people want and whether they find the service of use. I’m hoping that many Island businesses will join us and use the opportunity to promote their own facilities as well as the island as a whole”.
For more information, visit www.visitisleofwight.org