Fewer TT visitors - but they spend more

Friday 21st September 2018 4:30 am
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Onchan MHK Rob Callister

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The TT is worth millions to the Manx economy, the government says.

This week it released statistics from the annual visitor survey.

However, those show that the number of visitors actually FELL in 2018. But the amount of money spent by them ROSE.

The Department for Enterprise also says that the number of new and non-UK visitors has also significantly increased.

This year’s event saw an estimated spend of £37.1 million in the local economy, up from £34.1 million in 2017, contributing £26.8 million to the local economy, an increase of almost 8.9%.

The average length of stay also increased this year from 6.5 to 6.7 nights.

An estimated 44,367 visitors attended the event this year, a drop of 1.5% on the previous year’s 6.2% growth.

The DfE said that the reduction of 687 visitors was better than earlier predictions suggested, following the schedule disruptions in 2017 and the absence of a number of leading competitors in 2018.

More than 16,000 people were first time visitors to the TT Races this year, the highest recorded number since the surveys began in 2010, while the number of non-UK visitors increased by almost 50% to over 9,000.

Rob Callister MHK, political member with responsibility for Visit Isle of Man and Motorsport, said: ’This year’s research shows that a slight drop in visitors - which was expected following last year’s exceptional growth coupled with a disrupted schedule - can still lead to an increase in visitor spend and length of stay which has contributed to the overall rise in economic benefit.

’It’s important to remember that the visitor numbers have grown sharply across the past decade and we are now seeing well over 10,000 more people at the event each year since we began surveying in 2010.

’It is also very encouraging to see such significant increases in the number of new visitors to the event, and the number of international visitors, which is a positive sign for the long term growth of the TT.

’The department is already developing the 2019 event and we are confident that, on the back of the successful delivery of this year’s event, we will see further growth in the economic value of the TT as we continue to invest in and develop the events.’

While the government is obviously keen to promote the economic benefits of the TT, there are hidden costs to some businesses.

An obvious example is for companies based inside the course, which find it more difficult to operate and so lose income.

Meanwhile, anecdotal evidence suggests that the good weather this year spelt bad news for some restaurants and bars in Douglas.

Fine, warm weather made the beer tents more attractive, so visitors and locals did not venture further afield.

The key findings of the 2018 survey were:

44,367 visitors came for the TT in 2018 - a 1.5% decline compared to 2017 but a 4.6% increase compared to 2016.

On average, visitors stayed 6.7 nights on the Island in 2018 and spent £886 on the trip. Total expenditure of TT visitors in 2018 is an estimated £37.1 million. This represents a contribution to Manx National Income of £26.8 million and an Exchequer Benefit of £4.8 million.

The event attracted both new visitors as well as regular fans: 36.5% had not visited previously for the TT, while over 36% also visited for other motorsport events such as the Festival of Motorcycling and the Southern 100.

The number of visitors to the island for TT peaked on Sunday, June 3, reaching 26,600.

50 different countries of residence were recorded in the survey with the number of non-UK visitors increasing by almost 50% to an estimated 9,317. The majority (78.5%) were from the UK and Republic of Ireland, with 21% from outside the UK.

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