THERE is ‘broad support’ in the business community for planned changes to the Manx Grand Prix, says the island’s Chamber of Commerce.
Under the plans the MGP race festival will be cut back to 10 days.
The chamber, under the leadership of chief executive Mike Hennessy issued the following statement.
‘The changes proposed by the Department of Economic Development to the structure of the Manx Grand Prix have understandably brought about significant debate.
‘The MGP has great history and simply would not exist without the organisation and commitment from the Manx Motorcycle Club.
‘The revisions emerged as a result of significant focus group input.
‘Chamber were one of a number of parties invited to contribute toward these discussions.
‘Our approach was not purely ‘bike centric’, more one that focused upon overall economic benefit, combined with a strategic oversight of an event which deserves to be part of the Isle of Man calendar. That said, we seek to represent the Isle of Man business community and in turn what we believe to be, in simple terms, good for Isle of Man plc.
‘It was important to ‘‘sound check’’ the new proposals and this we believe we have done, both with a representative cross-section of the business community, alongside those perhaps more directly impacted – not riders, but businesses who do/will benefit from the successful staging of events on the island.
‘In this context, Chamber does not and cannot profess to hold expertise in the direct hosting of a significant motorcycle event nor indeed should it.
‘Our input is more generic to the economy, and, therefore, nevertheless meaningful.
‘Our observations are:-
l There is broad support for the DED proposals. Away from the racing itself, consumer trends have shifted toward shorter stay breaks. A number of accommodation providers approached felt that there was no noticeable spike in bookings for MGP in it’s current format. Likewise airlines. Could the changes provide for a new or additional audience? This notion is supported by observers
l Utilising the TT brand is also supported. The brand is on a journey and is increasingly the Isle of Man’s USP (unique selling proposition). Little mention has been made of the impact of losing the ‘Grand Prix’ title although Chamber does recognise the historic nature of this accolade. Losing it will need to be a balanced decision
l DED are not trying to destroy the event. More, it would appear, a case of seeking to maximise the return for it’s annual ‘investment’ into the MGP. Whether the proposals prove to be successful may well be subjective (currently) but they carry broad support from Chamber members.
l DED and The Manx MotorCycle Club should pursue a cohesive conclusion.
‘We hope that the planned discussions will prove fruitful and progressive.
‘Chamber is happy to become involved in any ongoing discussions. For now, the proposals from DED are supportive albeit we entirely appreciate the considerable work undertaken by MMCC in maintaining the ongoing appeal of this event in such challenging times.’