Isle of Man offers every visitor the kind of vacation he/she has opted for; from mind-boggling scenic beauties and extensive, spacious beaches to international motor sports and Manx delicacies. On their trip to this beautiful country, one need to decide exactly how much is enough to satiate the traveller inside. Blessed with a culture that borrows from the ancient Celtic and Norse traditions, the Isle of Man is a perfect choice to spend a vacation marked by an agreeable and relaxed pace of life.
The Isle of Man is an archipelago near the north-western coast of mainland Europe and on the Irish Sea. Also a part of the British Isles, it lies between England, Scotland and Ireland, the distances being approximately the same. Sharing almost every attraction the British Isles is famous for, the central mountain (Snaefell) and the seventeen national Glens, the fertile farmlands and a varied coastline are the most prominent features of the Isle of Man. The hills on the northern and the southern parts have a common central valley while the extreme north is exceptionally flat and is composed of oceanic, sedimentary deposits. Legend says the Snaefell summit is a point from which the seven kingdoms can be watched, namely Mann, Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, Heaven and Neptune.
Once a Viking outpost (700AD – 900 AD), the Isle of Man derives its name from the Norse Kingdom of Mann and Godred Crovan - the creator of the Isles. Scotland occupied the Viking settlement in 1266 before passing it on to the British in 1765. Another historical feature of the Isle of Man is its Parliament - The Tynwald was founded in 979 AD and still remains a functional one.
Offshore banking, manufacturing and tourism are considered the trinity of Isle of Man’s economy, with the government offering incentives to companies dealing in high-end technological products and services/solutions. Several financial institutions who share the good fortune (read incentives) have given rise to further employment opportunities making agriculture and fishing decline from their respective altars; now it’s banking and similar services that are contributing to the great bulk of Gross Domestic Products. On the trade front it’s the relation with the United Kingdom that rules the roost, though Isle of Man has a fair access to the European Union markets.
Primarily under an autonomous government, the head of state for the Isle of Man is currently Her Majesty the Queen; the Lord of Mann in the Manx tongue. The Island's Lieutenant Governor being her only representative in the Isles, it is The United Kingdom that defends and represents the Island internationally. The Tynwald is a bicameral legislature with the House of Keys and the Legislative Council primarily dealing with the domestic matters. The Chief Minister Donald Gelling currently heads the Council of Ministers. The Island's relationship is currently under a turmoil involving the finance sector, housing prices and shortages apart from the Manx language. The members of the House of Keys are mostly non-partisans and have two representatives from the Manx Labour Party and three from the Alliance for Progressive Government within. The next election for the Isle of Man is to be held in 2006.
This year, i.e. 2005, the Island's government structure has been put under reformatory measure with a vision to transform the Legislative Council into a directly-elected chamber. The initiative was primarily taken up by the United Kingdom’s House of Lords, triggered by the abolishment of indirectly elected Conseillers in Guernsey. The Tynwald has already accepted a proposal that shall change the title of the Lieutenant Governor to Crown Commissioner (Barrantaghy Chrooin in Manx); the proposal is currently awaiting the Queen’s approval.
The Isle of Man is nor a member neither an associate of the European Union, the sole reason being its position outside the European Economic Area (EEA), though Manx goods are traded without the non-EU tariffs due to the Protocol Three of the treaty of accession of the United Kingdom.
Isle of Man doesn’t provide anyone with citizenship. Manx people are British citizens but cannot freely live or work in the EU states. Manx politicians prefer standing independently in elections rather than representing the political parties. The six administrative districts or the sheadings (a Norse word for 'ship division'; the origin being the role of each district in producing a certain number of warships) form the basis of the Manx constituencies and has a Coroner in each of them. The six sheadings are Ayre, Glenfaba, Garff, Michael, Rushen and Middle.