Despite two cancelled festivals, the TT brand remains strong, the Minister for Enterprise has told the Keys, but questions remain over how his department spent about £1m despite there being no event.
Minister Laurence Skelly said his department had carried out ‘extensive consultation’ with stakeholders over the previous 12 months in light of the cancellation of TT 2020 and 2021.
In response to a question from Jason Moorhouse MHK, Mr Skelly said: ‘This consultation has provided a clear understanding of the impact of Covid-19 on each other individual groups, as well as providing feedback on a number of key organisational and deliverance aspects of the event. This research is being used to not only drive a successful 2022, as well as developing a clear plan for the long term sustainability and viability.
‘We believe that the TT will return bigger and stronger in 2022 and we are developing a number of new initiatives driven by our research. The department will be announcing some of the plans for TT 2022 in June ahead of a 12 month marketing and communication programme.’
Probed further by Mr Moorhouse, Mr Skelly said the concern for DfE was that the races and the brand survive ‘stronger than ever’.
Onchan MHK Julie Edge asked Mr Skelly where his department had spent about £1m of public money on the TT despite no racing being held and if DfE had hired external consultants. He said: ‘In terms of marketing, we have a major plan which we’re going to be announcing in June in the normal time of TT.’
Following a question from Douglas South MHK Claire Christian about how his department would seek to encourage more local people to volunteer during the TT as marshals, Mr Skelly said: ‘Can we get more local? Yes I do believe we can, we will always be campaigning for that but I would suggest that many of the fans are those marshals and we would still welcome them to come back to the island too. We have a separate budget for the TT and the motorsport team so if they do need extra support then we will be looking at the Economic Recovery Group or other means through Treasury. But having had no TT for the last two years, we believe we have sufficient budget for 2022.’
In response to a further question from Ms Edge what the £1m was spent on, Mr Skelly said he would get the figures circulated to members.