| Anxiety For Tourism
Industry After Cancellation
ANXIETY is growing among hotel bosses as the news
of the TT cancellation begins to sink in.
An emergency meeting has
been called between members of the accommodation sector who are concerned about
what will happen next.
A senior member of the Department of Tourism and
Leisure could attend the meeting, which will take place at the Empress Hotel,
Douglas, on Monday at 2pm.
Meanwhile tourism chiefs themselves are
holding a series of meetings to discuss marketing and the support package.
Norman Mackey, owner of the Ascot Hotel in Empire Terrace, Douglas, and
former president of the Hotel and Guest House Association, said he had written
to Chief Minister Donald Gelling asking him to be careful how he allocates the
proposed support measures for the tourism industry.
Tuesdays TT press conference Mr Gelling announced a £4 to 5m
recovery package for tourism.
Those to benefit from it could include
hoteliers and other people who might be hit hard by the cancellation such as
those selling food and merchandise.
But exact details of the scheme
have not been announced yet.
It is all very well coming up with
different packages but I want to know how they intend to allocate it,
said Mr Mackey.
I have written to the chief minister and asked
him to please be careful how he spends his money. The government has a history
of throwing money into the Irish Sea. I want to know how hes going to
execute this package.
Mr Mackey said he was not concerned for his
own business, only the smaller units on the promenade whose livelihood relies
completely on TT fortnight.
I am concerned that these people will
be overlooked and the money will go over their heads into another system.
I fear that they are going to come up with a complicated
mechanism and marketing strategy involving TV ads saying come to the Isle
of Man, we havent got foot-and-mouth. That is not the way forward
for this industry.
If the farmers lose sheep, they dont
replace the sheep with hay, they only replace the sheep. If the small hoteliers
have lost income, are they going to replace the income?
said the money given should be enough to support small hotel owners for the
next 12 months and warned that if this didnt happen, there would be a
dire knock-on effect for next years TT festival.
close down this year because of a lack of income from the TT, they wont
be back next year. Again, this is damaging the TT.
We have got
smaller units on the promenade that will disappear over night unless they come
up with some sort of package that protects them from the creditors and the
Chief Minister Donald Gelling told Tynwald on Tuesday:
Hopefully, the season will remain buoyant. But we must accept there will
be a loss of business.
That loss of business is something we need
to address and we intend to address. We are clear that we must try and offset
the effects of the cancellation and we are looking urgently at that. We will
announce the additional measures that we propose as soon as we are able. What I
can say at this stage is that the Treasury and Department of Tourism and
Leisure are looking for a range of measures aimed at easing hardship and cash
flow difficulties and that we are prepared to put between £4-£5m
into addition support and marketing.
But there has been criticism
of the government.
Chris Robertshaw, managing director of the Sefton
Hotel, who fought for the TT to go ahead, said: I come to the conclusion
that the Council of Ministers is not being serious in its consideration of
Other people involved in tourism have spoken about the
Rosie Sayle, owner of the Sulby Glen Hotel on the TT course,
said the cancellation was an understandable decision but a severe
blow for her business.
Speaking on Wednesday she said:
Yesterday lunchtime I had a full house of residents. At lunchtime today I
am completely empty.
As well as 18 hotel guests the pub hosts
hundreds of bikers who camp at the nearby Claddaghs campsite. It has so many
German regulars its known as the unofficial German embassy.
Mrs Sayle said that with the campsite being closed down and visitors
urged to stay away from the countryside, she wouldnt benefit from any TT
trade there is.
She will still erect the marquee, licensed for 200, but
won't take on the 10 extra staff shed have needed to cope with the
Mrs Sayle has run the pub for 15 years and worked there since
1971. She said: 'I don't think we'll bounce straight back from this. It's such
a crucial part of our business that it's put a severe dent in it.
Bushys boss Martin Brunnscheweiler accepts the cancellation but
said he would be hit hard.
On the brewing side, with the races
off, that will affect a lot of pubs we supply and I think that would hurt
Bushys beer tent on Douglas Promenade will still go
ahead, but Heron and Brearley retail director Grant Paterson said the beer tent
behind the TT Grandstand would not although the brewery hoped to push ahead
with most of its events.
Tourism and Leisure Minister David Cretney is
urging hotel owners with concerns to contact the DTL.
He said they will
also possibly looking to assist riders countries such as New Zealand who may
have machines in transit and that he has written to local authorities seeking
their views about the festival.
Just a thought here - Perhaps
some official consideration should also be given to those who actually make the
TT event what it is - The riders and Sponsors, and we mean ALL of them, not
just the big money names.
What compensation are they going to receive ?
Can Mr Cretney enlighten us as to what consideration is being given
towards compensation for them ?
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