The island is ’too dependent’ on the TT for tourism.

That is the admission by Department for Enterprise member Rob Callister MHK.

Mr Callister was answering a question from Douglas Central MHK Michael Synott on the department’s plans to attract tourists throughout the year.

The island currently receives a quarter of tourists during the annual two week TT festival and recent figures showed tourism numbers have fallen.

Mr Callister said: ’We are aiming at growing tourism on the island as well as the contribution to residents.’

One of the ways the department is looking at improving tourism is by extending the season from the four weeks during TT and MGP as evidenced by the planned cruise liner berth scheme.

Mr Callister added that working with the private sector is important for this to happen, to ensure year-round wet and dry weather activities are available.

However, he admitted the department is trying to advertise the island around the world on a limited budget.

He said: ’The island’s marketing budget is much less compared to the Channel Islands.’

Mr Callister added he believes that through the worldwide fan base of the TT and the increasing number of cruise ships stopping at the island during the year, the island is still able to promote to a global audience without the need to expand the marketing budget.

When asked how the government can use the newly acquired Steam Packet to boost tourism, Mr Callister replied that it would need to work with the company to create a new user agreement.

While it was also stated that the government has no control over ticket prices during the TT, he said the new user agreement will help to address other issues.

Report by Laura Griffiths, St Ninian’s High School, published on IoMToday