16 February, 2024

Visit Isle of Man has announced that it saw a positive surge in figures achieved in 2023, marking a significant milestone in the resurgence of travel and tourism and solidifying the Isle of Man’s position as a must-visit destination for visitors worldwide.

In 2023, Visit Isle of Man has recorded that the Island welcomed 318,000 visitors who contributed £183.2m revenue in visitor spend, exceeding targets by 18,000 and £21.8m respectively. Last year also saw the Island’s serviced accommodation occupancy figures bypass 2019’s figures by 9% and 5% for self-catering accommodation, demonstrating a robust recovery from the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deborah Heather, CEO of Visit Isle of Man, attributes the unprecedented growth to the strategic ‘noise’ campaign implemented by the Visit Isle of Man team throughout the year, commenting:

‘Upon joining Visit Isle of Man in April 2023, it became evident that our market penetration needed enhancing to attract tourists more effectively. We focused on amplifying our presence through extensive PR and social media initiatives, positioning the Island as a unique and interesting destination.

‘We’re into the second year of our ten-year Visitor Economy Strategy, ‘Our Island, Our Future’, and these exceptional figures are testament to the progress made within the strategy, reaffirming our commitment to achieving our target of 500,000 annual visitors by 2032.’

John Keggin, Visit Isle of Man Board Member and Managing Director of Island Escapes, said:

‘This remarkable achievement not only demonstrates the resilience of the Island’s tourism industry but also signals a promising revival following the challenges posed by the pandemic. At Island Escapes we’ve seen a significant increase in bookings compared to last year, with 2023 being a strong year in itself. This surge in bookings not only indicates a robust demand but reflects a growing confidence among visitors in the Island’s appeal as a destination of choice for 2024 and beyond.’

Deborah Heather added:

‘2023 saw a record number of visitors to the Island compared to recent years, and whilst we appreciate that external factors can influence tourism trends, this substantial growth in visitor numbers, spend and forward bookings sets a positive tone for the wider tourism sector, underscoring the collective efforts to rebuild and thrive in this new era.

‘Looking ahead to 2024, we’re optimistic about the continued growth and development of the tourism industry in the Island. With exciting initiatives planned and ones that have already taken place, namely the recently hosted trip for the British Guild of Travel Writers, we believe our proactive strategies will safeguard the tourism ecosystem and sustain long-term growth.’

Daphne Caine MHK, Political Member with responsibility for Tourism and Motorsport, concluded:

‘I attribute the welcome growth in visitor numbers to the hard work and entrepreneurship of our accommodation, attraction and activity providers, food and drink establishments and producers, and everyone else who provides a great experience for our visitors. I feel confident we will go from strength to strength as a destination. I extend my sincere appreciation to the dedicated team at Visit Isle of Man, its industry partners and the local tourism and hospitality businesses whose collective efforts have contributed significantly to the Island’s resurgence.

‘I am highly optimistic regarding the prospects that lie ahead for the Island’s tourism sector. The Isle of Man is simply a wonderful place to live or visit – the challenge has always been raising awareness and making it easy to get here, and I am confident the Visit Agency and Department for Enterprise are rising to meet that challenge.’

As Visit Isle of Man celebrates the remarkable achievements of 2023, the Visit Agency remains committed to promoting the Island’s unique offering and fostering a vibrant tourism landscape.