Final Statement – WIGHT BID – What, Why & How?

A final statement from CEO of Visit Isle of Wight, David Thornton, ahead of the WIGHT BID decision due next week. 

Following a 7-month consultation and information campaign, a few tourism businesses are still asking why they should support the BID. So here’s a simple summary of the Wight BID and why it’s essential that you vote.


Tourism Businesses across the Island with a rateable value of £3000 or more are being asked to vote for a business improvement district mechanism – which means that if the vote is positive, all tourism businesses (with an RV above £3000) will be required, by law, to pay an additional 1.75% of their rateable value into a central pot that will be used to deliver a new marketing and development programme created through consultation with the tourism industry. This will remain in place for five years from the 1st of September this year.

The Wight BID plan was published two months ago and sent to every tourism business that would be affected by, and benefit from, the levy if it goes ahead. Further details and reminders have also been posted out, emailed, debated in meetings, discussed on local radio and featured in the County Press, Chamber Business magazine, On the Wight website and other social media and news outlets on the Island over many months. Full details about the plan,  what the money raised will be spent on, and what the aims and objectives are, can be found on under the “documents” tab.


Two reasons: IWCouncil had to withdraw funding support for tourism marketing earlier this year, and the Island’s tourism industry wanted to take this opportunity to review the governance and focus of tourism marketing and development activity.  The Industry wants to change the governance of Visit Isle of Wight (the destination management organisation) to be more democratically representative of the whole industry and not just the 11 organisations that currently make up Visit Isle of Wight.

But, the proposed fund isn’t there just to replace Council funding, it’s there to do a great deal more. The WIGHT BID proposes to tackle marketing, presentation, travel and development issues to grow the amount of money that the Island makes from tourists for years to come.


You have to vote; by post (deadline tomorrow) or by handing your ballot paper in to IWCouncil reception no later than Tuesday, 5pm next week. If you do not vote, others will decide your fate and you will have to abide by their decision.

If 51% or more vote YES (rateable value and number of rateable units) the WIGHT BID WIGHT BID will become law and from September Visit Isle of Wight will commence setting up all the structures and options ready for the Industry to explore and engage with.

If the vote is NO, none of the above will happen, and the opportunity for a unified tourism industry to take the lead in destination marketing will not happen. Tourism marketing will be dominated by big businesses who are prepared to pay for exposure of their own brands, and the opportunity to create a fairer and more democratic approach to tourism will be lost.

Thank You.