Sarnians ‘will be given a warm Manx welcome’
ISLANDERS will be given a warm Manx welcome when they visit the Isle of Man, many businesses there have said.
Gearing up for one of the first quarantine-free flight routes and an established air bridge in the British Isles, hotels, restaurants and outdoor activity leaders in the Isle of Man have expressed their excitement for the chance to boost the economy and local tourism.
Mannin Hotel manager Rom Kesa said the six-week trial of running a flight schedule between the islands was an exciting opportunity.
‘Things are definitely picking up and I’m very happy to see this air bridge trial begin in July,’ he said.
‘There’s plenty to see and do here and I’m sure that plenty of Manx will go to visit Guernsey too and it will be a very successful relationship, perhaps if it does go well we can continue it every summer season.’
John Keggin of self-catering holiday lettings agency Island Escapes agreed.
‘I think this new air bridge may lead to closer ties between our island nations,’ he said.
‘And whilst in the short term it has the potential to help both jurisdictions weather the storm and strengthen our economies, this new relationship could lead to new opportunities to work together in the longer term.’
The island’s capital, Douglas, is filled with restaurants and bars keen to see tourists fill their streets again.
Tanroagan Seafood Restaurant and The Boatyard Restaurant owner Robin Mowat said the air bridge would not only offer tourism opportunities but build on the strong relationship island communities share.
‘Air and sea services are lifelines for islands like ours and the recent pandemic has shown how much we are dependent on them for our economy,’ he said.
‘It is important we start rebuilding our economies post-pandemic and initiatives like air bridges are a good start where it is safe and practical to do so.’
Outdoor leisure pursuits, activities and sports are also eager to welcome Sarnians to the island too.
Dave Wilson of Dave’s Waves said it was fantastic that both islands had found themselves in the position to consider creating an air bridge.
‘We are in quite an enviable position,’ he said.
‘Having visitors to our island will greatly assist the local accommodation and activity providers.
‘The bars and restaurants will also benefit from increased numbers coming to experience our fantastic local cuisine.
‘We would love to welcome visitors from Guernsey to come and windsurf and windfoil with us – with a warm Manx welcome ready to be shared.’
He encouraged islanders to visit one of the best preserved medieval castles in Europe, Castle Rushen, followed by a re-fuel of a Manx kipper bap or a bowl of Manx Queenies, washed down by local gin, Fynoderee, or one of their local beers brewed on the Isle of Man by Bushy’s. Or even a craft wine from the island’s Foraging Vintners, a seaside craft winery that focuses on making non-grape based sparkling wines, ciders and ginger beer showcasing what can grow on the island.
‘We would love to give the opportunity to share our joint island experience with others in a similar position,’ said MaryBeth Coll and Ian Swindell who run the Foraging Vintners business.
‘It will help to have some extra footfall and raise our spirits to have some new friendly faces to discuss our common experience.
‘For our tiny local business, having new people to see what we are doing and spread the word is such a massive help – we are so excited to have fellow islanders as our guests.’
Ged Power of Isle of Man Golf Holidays, which has eight courses for people to test their golfing skills on, said the air bridge would be a lifeline for tourism on both islands.
‘We’ve worked hard on both islands to rid Covid and our people deserve a reward,’ he said.
‘Enjoying a break and visiting somewhere new will be a tonic for many.
‘It’ll be enlightening to meet [some] Guerns and make new friends, [they] will have the keys to the kingdom.’
Andrew Foxon of Go-Mann Adventures, which offers guided walks, tours and other adventures on the island, added there was plenty to explore.
‘The whole island is a Unesco Biosphere Reserve so we care for the natural and cultural heritage of the island, its great variety of landscapes, and its unique history and heritage,’ he said.
‘Coastal, glen and moorland walking, lots of land and water-based activities, good public transport systems, heritage sites and museums, beaches to relax on and food and drink businesses with local specialities.
‘We look forward to saying “Failt erriu gys Ellan Vannin - Welcome to the Isle of Man”.’
It is planned that Aurigny will operate flights from mid-July for an initial six-week period, with an Aurigny spokesperson stating though details were still being discussed, they were hoping to operate twice weekly rotations. A full schedule should be released next week.
The Isle of Man has seen 336 cases of Covid-19 among its population of about 84,000. It has not had an active case since early June. Its borders are closed to non-residents, and those that do return face a 14-day quarantine, like people arriving into Guernsey.