Richard Gibson-Venner, marketing director at Motorsport Tickets, has expressed how ticketing businesses are “deeply affected” by the UK government’s lack of clarity surrounding travel advice.
Gibson-Venner, along with Motorsport Tickets, which supplies ticket and hospitality options to all Formula 1, MotoGP and World Endurance Championship race events, is calling for a “robust reopening strategy” for businesses that rely on travel, including sporting events like motorsport.
He has also urged the government to look further into COVID passports as a way of increasing confidence and security for large scale summer events, which are still largely set to go ahead as planned.
The statement comes after Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Wednesday urged people to not book summer holidays either within the UK or internationally, saying “I simply don’t know the answer to the question of where we’ll be up to this summer.”
He said Prime Minister Boris Johnson planned to unveil how the UK would come out of lockdown on February 22.
Gibson-Venner said: “We appreciate that the government cannot say for certain when future travel will be back on the cards, but sweeping statements from ministers are causing a real challenge for businesses across the board. As an industry that fundamentally relies on the ability to travel, the motorsport and ticketing business is also deeply affected by the ripples caused by the lack of Government clarity.
“Sports tourism is a huge business, which brings billions to the UK economy, but it is also of importance to those who love to travel internationally for hobbies and leisure activities.
“It is hugely disappointing to see the lack of consideration for industries that are counting on a positive message, not only to support business but also to give the UK something to look forward to. We need a robust reopening strategy, to allow people to plan their travel for all matter of reasons, including for sporting events which are still due to go ahead.”
Motorsport Tickets, the UK’s leading motorsport ticket provider, also supplies ticket and hospitality options to the Le Mans 24-hour, Isle of Man TT, and a raft of factory tours and experiences.
Many motorsport events were heavily affected by COVID-19 in 2020, with the majority of Formula 1 events held without fans, as well as the Le Mans 24 Hours, among others. In the first month of 2021, Formula 1 announced that races in Australia and China were postponed, with the 2021 season to now begin in Bahrain on March 28.
F1 said it expects fans to return to the grandstands and its exclusive Paddock Club for the 2021 season, though uncertain travel restrictions in the UK and elsewhere make this challenging for organisers.
Gibson-Venner continued: “For the benefit of the economy, we fundamentally believe that there needs to be more synergy between the travel and health departments, as well as consistent dialogue and input from experts in each industry.
“Instead of losing another summer season to the pandemic, something the travel, sports tourism, and ticketing industries can’t afford, we urge the government to look further into COVID passports as a way of increasing confidence and security for large scale summer events.”