TT village at the former prison site may be returning on a bigger scale

Thursday 3rd February 2022 9:00 am
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The TT village in 2019

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There are plans to bring back ’bigger and better’ the accommodation village at the site of the former prison in Douglas for the TT and Manx Grand Prix.

The Department of Enterprise has submitted two planning applications (22/00102/B and 22/00103/B, for the two event periods) to set up 168 temporary accommodation cabins, which will be run by Duke Travel Ltd - the maximum capacity of the site.

This will be bigger than the 100 cabins Duke operated in 2019.

Guests will be provided with a continental style breakfast within a tented reception/marquee area.

Asked about demand across their tourist accommodation sites in the wake of the pandemic, chief executive officer Peter Duke said that ’overall worldwide demand for TT travel and accommodation still greatly exceeds supply’.

He explained: ’As well as a hardcore band of, mainly British, regulars - for whom the main challenge is to get a suitable date on the ferry so they can get back to work after the last race - the TT is high up on a lot of bucket-lists, especially in North America and Australia.

’International demand from Australia and Europe is still greatly affected by Covid and we have helped other operators to replace hundreds of, mainly, Australian hotel bookings with our American and British clients looking for 3/4 star hotel accommodation.’

Asked what he thinks the recently announced reduced MGP race schedule, Mr Duke said: ’The bookings we have for the MGP / Classic period are 95% for the long weekend of classic racing and that hasn’t fundamentally changed.

’Our clients tend to be the sort who go to the Goodwood Revival or Silverstone Classic. The hotel accommodation standard these clients seek is nearly all booked up already.’

He said that overall demand was ’not up there with 2019’, but that overall numbers will be ’below 2019 but not far off’.

’Accommodation capacity is the main issue,’ said Mr Duke.

’A big unknown at present is the availability of homestay which may be influenced by both provider and customer ’Covid caution’.

’We’ve also lost 300 ’sleeping bag’ spaces at Peel Football Club this year and traditional hotel capacity is still shrinking.’

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