Riders compete in the Hills Killer Challenge at this year's Isle of Wight Cycling Festival. Picture by Robin Crossley.
A MULTI-MILLION pound tourism investment plan, which could lead to a cycletracks being extended and buses converted to carry surf boards, could be agreed soon.
The Isle of Wight Council announced today that a plan to spend £5.2m — including almost £4m from government and the rest from council budgets — is to be subject to a delegated decision by Cllr Edward Giles.
The plan includes creating transport hubs to provide travel and tourism information, a mobile phone app, marketing, and improving the cycletrack and walking network.
The council said discussions were already underway to buy land to fill the gaps in the existing cycletrack network.
The plan could lead to an off road route from Brading to St Helens being created and the Newport to Sandown route extended.
Bus services for tourists could be improved, including a new direct route from Ryde to Alum Bay and some buses converted to carry surfboards and bikes.
A sustainable travel co-ordinator would be appointed on a fixed term contract until March 2015, working with the new destination management organisation.
The co-ordinator would work with accommodation providers to promote a "walkers and cyclists welcome" initiative to encourage people to make the most of public transport, cycling and walking. Ideas include offering discounted rates and attraction entrance fees.
The walkers and cyclists welcome theme, similar to that used by Visit Scotland, would promote businesses that provide facilities such as drying rooms, cycle racks and packed lunches.
Cllr Giles cannot take the decision before Thursday next week (1).
The report can be viewed on the council's website here.