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Buri Ram MotoGP in doubt

Buri Ram MotoGP in doubt

MOTO GP: The MotoGP in Buri Ram scheduled for October might be postponed for the second year running because of the resurgence of the coronavirus in Thailand.

Moto-GP
By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 20 July 2021, 10:29AM


Racing during MotoGP 2019 at Chang International Circuit in Buri Ram. Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill.

Racing during MotoGP 2019 at Chang International Circuit in Buri Ram. Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said the ministry and Dorna Sports, the commercial rights holder, will make a decision soon on whether the race should be postponed to next year to reduce the risk of infection.

There is concern among foreign racers because Thailand is still recording high levels of new cases, he said.

The MotoGP race at Chang International Circuit, Buri Ram was postponed for the first time during the outbreak in March 2020, setting a new date of Oct 10-12, 2021, before be rescheduled for Oct 15-17.

Last July, the cabinet approved the licence extension, allowing Thailand to host the event for five years from 2021-2025.

Mr Phiphat said MotoGP races in other countries have also been cancelled, though some continued without audiences during the pandemic.

“The country will lose opportunities if we have to host the races in October without sport fans,” he said. “If there is a choice of holding the race without spectators or postponing, we would prefer to postpone.”

Buri Ram is among the 10 areas slated for reopening as the country plans to welcome inoculated tourists back to pilot destinations this year.

The northeastern province was included solely because of the MotoGP meeting, which was expected to draw a large number fans.

As of July 13, 21.1% or 333,895 people in the province were vaccinated, with 225,570 receiving the first jab, while 108,325 residents are fully vaccinated, according to Buri Ram Provincial Health Office.

The ministry reported the event on Oct 4-6, 2019 contributed B3.13 billion to the local economy and created 5,466 jobs during the festivities.

The three-day event set a record with 226,655 sports fans, up from 222,535 in 2018, of which 167,130 or 73.7% were Thais.

The fans’ length of stay averaged 2.27 days.

The remaining 59,525 fans or 26.3% were foreigners from 41 countries, an increase of 52.8% year-on-year, with an average length of stay of 5.97 days.

Most spectators came from Australia, Germany, China, the UK and Japan, respectively, while 63% of foreigners were first-time visitors to the province.

The organising budget for the MotoGP event in 2019 totalled B832 million, with 375mn or 45% coming from the government, including the MotoGP licence, infrastructure and other items.

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