The Algarve is expected to lose around €74 million in potential tourism revenue due to the government’s decision to forbid spectators at the Algarve’s MotoGP race.
The event, taking place between November 20 and 22 at the Algarve’s International Racetrack, has been penalised for the lack of social distancing that was widely reported at last month’s F1 GP, which Prime Minister António Costa said was “completely unacceptable and cannot be repeated”.
Thus the decision was made to not allow any spectators at the MotoGP, a move that aims to prevent large gatherings like those reported at the F1 GP.
The bad news is that the €80 million that the region was expecting in tourism revenue from the race has been cut to just €6 million, estimates Algarve tourism chief João Fernandes.
The much lower sum will come from the amount of money organisers, teams, journalists and other people linked to the event are expected to spend at the region’s restaurants, hotels and supermarkets, he explained.
On the bright side, Fernandes stressed that the MotoGP will help promote the Algarve on the international stage, similar to the international exposure it received during the F1 GP.
“It will be reaching 428 million TVs around the world,” the tourism boss told TSF radio this week, adding that 1.25 billion MotoGP videos were viewed in 2019. All in all, the championship is said to have reached 6.7 billion people last year.
Fernandes also denied that the regional tourism board (RTA) will be losing any of the money it invested in the digital advertising campaigns it has promoted for the event.
“We didn’t invest a significant amount, it will all be won back regardless of whether it has spectators or not,” he stressed.
Portuguese rider laments empty stands
Meanwhile, Portugal’s record-setting MotoGP racer Miguel Oliveira has lamented that the race will take place with no spectators.
“It’s a shame that there won’t be any fans in the stands. We have to understand the PM’s decision, keep a positive attitude and find motivation to compete there,” the 25-year-old said at a press conference in Valencia, Spain this week.
In August, Oliveira became the first Portuguese ever to win a MotoGP race, finishing first at the Australian motorcycle Grand Prix and cementing his place as the country’s most successful rider ever.