STAR LETTER: No escape from levy

Dear Editor,

Am I alone in thinking attractions on the Island are being short-changed by Visit Isle of Wight? After a pretty indifferent 2023 season, followed by a difficult winter, it was no surprise being threatened with court action over failure to pay a bid levy. Surely, it’s bad enough to have to fight for survival without an organisation, supposedly set up to support tourism on the Island, being an unhelpful creditor.

For a number of years now I have felt it was a serious mistake signing up for this tourism levy, but whenever I have tried to withdraw, I have been given reasons why I am not permitted to. When phoning the so-called ‘helpline’ about the outstanding amount, I was told, quite bluntly, it must be paid and there is no way out, now or in the future. I have signed up to it and that is that. Evidently there will be another ballot at some time, but if a negative vote is in the minority, and despite voting against it, I will still have to carry on paying. I may be wrong and will be happy to be corrected, but that is the impression I got from a very unhelpful person.

Is there anyone else out there who feels that we are not getting value for money? Despite the existence of this organisation, ferry fares continue to rise whilst ferry services get worse. If Visit Isle of Wight isn’t going to speak up for tourist attractions, accommodation providers, et al, then who is? Where is the evidence that our money is being well spent?

So, on we go, paying year after year, and obviously what I considered to be a voluntary participation in the organisation is quite the contrary.

Steve Taylor (Wight Military & Heritage), Northwood