Cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, Councillor Ian Ward, has said that the Isle of Wight Council is managing the Island’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a ‘safe and sensitive way’.
Last night it was announced by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the hospitality sector can re-open again from 4th July, paving the way for Britain to bounce back.
Cllr Ward has said that he knows there will be people who still have concerns about the impact of taking steps towards recovery but, he says, these steps will be managed in a safe and sensitive way.
In a normal year, almost 40% of the Island’s visitors arrive on the Island between July to September. With this in mind, the Council recognises that the summer period is vital for hospitality businesses and jobs that rely on the tourist trade in the summer to support them through the winter.
Cllr Ward says:
“As a council, we have the difficult balancing act of supporting these businesses, which are vital to the economy, while at the same time trying to keep the community safe and managing any spread of the infection.
“Our message is that ‘the Island is Waiting’ and that the council, in partnership with Visit Isle of Wight, the tourism sector and our ferry companies, are working to ensure we are not left behind with the competitive 2020 UK tourist offer, but that people can book now to travel later.
“We encourage people to plan their visit to the Island and to sail safe and stay safe.”
The Leader of the Isle of Wight Council, Councillor Dave Stewart, has hailed the return of ‘peak time’ hi-speed ferry services as a significant step on the Island’s road to recovery.
It was announced yesterday that Red Funnel’s hi-speed Red Jet service is to resume from Monday 29th June.
Cllr Stewart has said:
“Our ferry operators are making enormous effort to ensure lifeline services are maintained during these very difficult times.
“They have been working closely and in a co-ordinated fashion alongside our transport infrastructure board (TIB) and with the crucial support of the Department for Transport and our MP.
“The reinstatement of commuter services is a significant step on the Island’s road to recovery, not only to provide better connectivity to and from the mainland, but also to support our drive to open up the visitor economy in line with government advice.
“We are all continuing to work together to ensure a phased recovery of our ferry services, including the reintroduction of those which support our vital summer visitor economy. We want to safely show the Island is open for holidays this year.
“This will continue to involve our usual level of caution and safety for our Island community, but also to provide a recovery pathway for this crucial business sector.”
Transport Infrastructure Board Chairman, Christopher Garnett, has said it is essential ferry timetables can be adjusted to meet any possible increases in demand arising from further changes in Government regulations about tourism and travel – such as those confirmed last night.
The board meet regularly to review the current cross-Solent ferry services with operators Red Funnel, Wightlink and Hovertravel, and also to consider the expected increased requirement for services over the summer months.