IS THE ISLE OF WIGHT A WORTHY PLACE TO PURCHASE A HOLIDAY INVESTMENT PROPERTY?
There has been an avalanche of positive media commentary about the growing appeal of holiday properties as an investment vehicle and option. As with most property investments, there is always an emphasis on the importance of the location. With this in mind, regions such as North Yorkshire, Cornwall and parts of Scotland are often put forward as amongst the best places to choose for a holiday property investment. Much less has been written about the appeal of the Isle of Wight but, as this article reveals, this is definitely not because the island doesn’t represent a very attractive investment option.
The Isle of Wight - more than a viable investment option
The history books and research trends have shown that tourist regions create appeal based on the volume of attractions and activities that holidaymakers and leisure seekers can enjoy within a reasonable reach of their chosen accommodation. With this in mind, there are few UK regions that can match the Isle of Wight for its compact tourism offering.
The Isle of Wight may only be 23 miles long and 13 miles wide, but it is crammed full of charm, character, history, beautiful countryside, welcoming beaches and spectacular coastlines. And with more than two million tourists choosing the island for a short break or family holiday each year, there are many very good reasons why people want to consider buying a holiday property on the Isle of Wight.
Located between two and five miles from Hampshire, depending on where you choose to cross The Solent, loading your car and taking a ferry across to the island is both relatively inexpensive and hassle-free.
Seven beautiful towns to visit
It is a widely recognised fact that tourist attractions, events, and facilities drive interest in any holiday or leisure destination. The Isle of Wight ranks very well against these measurements, offering seven charming and contrasting towns to choose from; these being Newport, Ryde, Sandown, Shanklin, Cowes, Ventnor, and Yarmouth. They provide an abundance of activities for tourists to enjoy.
One of the world’s top cycling destinations
Being able to easily see everything the Isle of Wight has to offer necessitates the need for a car, but cyclists would argue differently. The Isle of Wight is awash with rolling green countryside and plenty of tea rooms for cyclists to re-energise and re-hydrate. Broadly accepted as one of the top cycling destinations in the world, the Isle of Wight Tourism website has listed a dozen different cycle route options to appeal to all levels of cyclists.
Stunning coastal walks
The Isle of Wight is equally appealing to hikers and walkers, with dozens of exhilarating walks to expose the spectacular coastline. The coastal walk covers some 65 miles with more serious walkers attempting to do this over a four-day period. This walk is appreciated by some older walkers, as the Isle of Wight is not especially hilly, apart from some stretches along the western and southern points. The Isle of Wight Guru website shares a superb range of walking options, something to suit the needs of most hikers.
Driving around the island utilises much less energy than cycling or walking, of course, but still brings its own delights. There are no motorways on the Isle of Wight and the myriad of minor roads extends a feast of picturesque countryside and stunning coastal vantage points for visitors to park up, savour and enjoy.
As well as having one picturesque and contrasting town to visit for each day of the week, the island has more than enough tourist attractions to easily eat up the days of a two-week holiday.
Other tourist attractions
There are museums, galleries, historic sites and beautiful beaches. There is even the Isle of Wight Zoo to delight the young and old animal lovers.
The top tourist attraction on the Isle of Wight is The Needles. This offers a range of attractions and rides for all ages, from traditional Victorian games to an interactive 4D cinema experience. Another new and unique attraction is the Deer Farm a 334 acre site and home to 145 Red Deer and over 60 Fallow Deer.
No visit to The Needles would be complete without a visit to one of their entertaining demonstrations. You can get hands-on with fascinating glass blowing, sweet making and sand filling and take away a piece of the Isle of Wight you won’t find anywhere else. The white-knuckle chairlift ride down the cliffside to the pebble beach below is not for the faint-hearted but those who don’t mind heights will be totally exhilarated by the experience.
Literally hundreds of dining options
Dining out is a huge part of most people’s holiday and the Isle of Wight will not disappoint you. With literally hundreds of casual and fine dining options to choose from, it’s challenging to know where to start. Thankfully, a superb Taste of The Wight directory has been created that allows you to easily search and evaluate some of the best eateries, as categorised across Restaurants, Pubs & Tea Rooms.
A host to major events
To further add to the list of items that property buyers should consider in relation to tourism, the Isle of Wight also hosts several famous major events. Some of the main ones are:
- The world famous Isle of Wight Festival
- Cowes Week - the largest sailing regatta event in the world
- The International Classic Car Show
- The Annual Isle Of Wight Garlic Festival
The level of tourism to the Isle of Wight has been steadily increasing. More than 2.5 million visited the island in 2018, with research suggesting a marginal increase of 15,000 visitors and an increase of £4.5million in expenditure for the year.
Whilst some tourists prefer to holiday in the summer, the Isle of Wight offering in the other three seasons is equally attractive. Commenting on this, Iain Brown, who is CEO of Aria Resorts, a brand that has three resorts on the Island, said: “We definitely regard the Isle of Wight as an all-year-round destination. It’s not just the eclectic mix of tourist attractions available on the Isle of Wight, accommodation providers like ourselves are looking at what we can do away from the summer.
“As an example, some of our resorts include hot tubs and log burners and Brits seem to have a love affair with these facilities - certainly in the colder weather. Anyone looking at a holiday property investment would be well served looking at what the Isle of Wight has to offer customers. I feel the evidence is very compelling for investors.”
Brown is correct in his reference to the evidence being compelling. According to research form Tourism South East, visits to the Isle of Wight last year rose by 5% compared to 2017, whilst 2018 saw an increase in the total visitor spend over the year, too – up by 9% to £303 million – which means an average spend per head/per trip of £127.92.
Although short breaks fell by 2% across the year, holidaymakers spending five nights or more saw a staggering 19% rise in 2018.
Will Myles, managing director of Visit Isle of Wight, told Island Echo Newspaper: “It was definitely a year where all the seasons came in to play! It was heavy snow when I first started my job in March this year, there’s been rain through Easter and we saw at the end of August lots of heavy rain, glorious temperatures for much of the summer, it’s been amazing.”
Visit Isle of Wight’s remit to increase visitors to the island in the ‘shoulder’ months has shown an increase of 9.2% compared to the previous year.
Will added: “We’ve seen visitor figures increase through the shoulder seasons, certainly in Quarter 1 which was up by 0.2% and in Quarter 4, October, November and December, which was up by 9%. These figures are demonstrating that our goal to increase visitors here throughout the year is continuing to succeed.”