Qualitative interviews, conducted in the Isle of Man, investigate local perceptions of a tourism industry in late stage decline. Social impacts of decline, including facilities loss, cultural changes and a heightening of perceived peripherality, which together undermine local identity, are pronounced despite successful economic diversification. Tourists are welcomed as they help to affirm the pride residents have in their island, create a more active atmosphere, provide social interaction opportunities and combat negative stereotyping. Overall, findings emphasise the diverse, unique and persistent benefits of tourism in the Isle of Man, despite decline. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.