Island 's Economy
In the past the Manx relied heavily on farming and fishing - the traditional basic fare for the majority of Manx people was herrings and potatoes! The last century saw a rapid development in mining for lead, zinc and silver but the mines have long since closed down leaving behind remains such as the Great Laxey Wheel, the worlds largest working water wheel, to tell the tale of the industry.
Towards the end of the last century the Island became a very important holiday destination for people in particular from the industrial areas of Northwest England and Scotland. In some years as many as 600,000 visitors arrived and there was a rapid expansion of facilities to enhance the natural attractions of the Island. Over the last 40 years package holidays to warmer climes have changed the nature of Manx tourism. Now it is the Islands colourful heritage, diverse scenic beauty, its many annual sporting events - especially motor sports, its many opportunities for active or specialist holidays, and its first class hotel, conference and leisure facilities that provide the draw for tourists.
The Island has long been an area of low taxation enjoying total independence from the United Kingdom in matters of direct taxation. As a result the Island has developed into a flourishing modern-day offshore business centre. Financial services now make a major contribution to the Manx economy as does a steadily growing and varied manufacturing industry sector with over 200 companies successfully operating. The most recent development has been the establishment of a successful film industry. So together farming, fishing, tourism, financial services and manufacturing produce a high level of economic activity, a rapidly rising National Income and an extremely low level of unemployment.