The way the Isle of Wight is marketed to tourists will remain the same for another five years, despite some controversy over this year's vote.

An independent ballot was run on behalf of the Isle of Wight Council and just over half of those who returned their ballot paper supported a continuation of the DBID - known as WightBID.

In all, 55.9 per cent of those who took part agreed the system should continue unchanged and turnout was 36.8 per cent.

However, some called the system unfair and an 'against BID' campaign was running on Twitter.

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WightBID hoping for another five years as Island hotels face court action


The DBID requires tourism-led businesses to pay varying contributions, depending on their size.

It is paid in one instalment and impacts properties and businesses with a rateable value of £3000 or more.

The minimum amount payable is £150, but many pay more.

Earlier this year, the County Press reported that three hotels had been taken to court for non-payment of the mandatory fee.

It was payable despite the impact of Covid-19.

Shanklin's Queensmead Hotel was made the subject of a liability order of £447, including enforcement fees.

The Trouville Hotel in Sandown was made subject of a liability order of £1,819, including enforcement fees.

Representatives of another Sandown hotel were also called to court for outstanding payment of £269, £780, £200 and £1,305, but this was settled by payment before the court date.

One hotel owner told the County Press he had tried to protest by not paying, but ultimately had no choice and said he hoped the scheme would be scrapped.

Visit Isle of Wight said businesses were granted a 20 per cent discount on the normal rate, due to the lockdowns.

The Isle of Wight Destination Business Improvement District launched in September 2016.

In 2017, the first year of operation, more than 100 businesses were issued with court orders.

Its contributions will total nearly £3 million over the next five years and Visit Isle of Wight will use it to promote the Island to potential tourists.

It says it is developing tourism plans on the themes visitors for life; working together; and sustainability.

There will be a focus on accessible tourism, day trips and sustainable travel.

It says it will also look at how the BID could include retail businesses.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Visit Isle of Wight chair Ian Griffiths and Cllr Julie Jones-Evans

Visit Isle of Wight chair Ian Griffiths said: "We are over the moon that businesses recognise and appreciate the work that Visit Isle of Wight has carried out on their behalf over the last 5 years.

"Together we are stronger and we look forward to developing closer ties with even more of the Island’s hard-working tourism-based firms.

"We will not be resting on our laurels.

"We have been given a clear mandate to continue and we are already redoubling efforts to develop the work further, ensuring that the Island can continue to hold its place in the hearts and minds of potential visitors."

Around 1,250 businesses are required to pay the WightBID and those who do not pay can be taken to court, in the same way as for council tax and business rates.

Visit Isle of Wight said on average six per cent of businesses are taken to court, with 94 per cent paying the levy as required.

"Visit Isle of Wight has not been distracted by naysayers..." - Ian Griffiths, chair 

Mr Griffiths said: "Visit Isle of Wight has not been distracted by naysayers and has continued to perform its core task of encouraging visitors.

"The recent Isle of Wight Walking Festival, which is managed by Visit Isle of Wight, has been hailed a great success and we are now looking at calls to increase its presence to two events next year.

"Now, with the support of businesses and by working together even more closely, we will continue to ensure the Isle of Wight benefits from the BID process."

Isle of Wight Council's lead for tourism, Councillor Julie Jones-Evans, said: "This result will give reassurance to our vital tourism industry that the Isle of Wight will continue to be marketed as a visitor destination, especially important during this resurgence in "staycations".

"We must remember we are in competition with other visitor destinations so it's crucial we have a visible and vibrant presence.

"A comprehensive business plan has been given the seal of approval with this result and we look forward to seeing this being rolled out over the next 5 years and seeing our number of visitors increase."