In what is probably not a surprise to many readers of this website, the Douglas Bay Horse Tramway has been flagged as being a crucial element of Manx tourism. The comments were made by the outgoing director of Manx National Heritage, Edmund Southworth, who thinks the next three to five years will see domestic tourism within the British Isles enjoying a major revival and that the Isle of Man’s unique offering will have its part to play.
Quoted in an article on the Isle of Man Today website, Mr Southworth said: “The future of the island I think is in special interest tourism, not bucket and spade, it’s not donkeys on the beach; it’s people coming for a particular reason. There’s no doubt we have a very rich heritage, whether it’s in motorcycling, whether it’s in railways, trams, horse trams or castles, this heritage is what brings people.”
When questioned directly about the horse trams he added: “There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind. We go out off island to trade fairs and we talk to people about why they are booking onto the island. Absolutely no doubt that the horse trams is part of that.”
The Douglas Bay Horse Tramway hasn’t run since 2019 with a major redevelopment of the Promenade seeing the tram tracks relayed. The section to the Sea Terminal is due to be relaid as a single track section at the side of the road but no date has been set for when this will take place. The tramway as far as Broadway should be ready for reopening at some point in the spring although it remains to be seen whether it does with the uncertainty of the pandemic.