Formula 1 without public is "two more months of winter" for travel agencies

Formula 1 returned to Portugal on October 25, 2020, at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, after 24 years of absence from the World Cup

The Portuguese Association of Travel and Tourism Agencies (APAVT) considers that an event such as the Portuguese Formula 1 Grand Prix without an audience will be like “another two months of winter” for the sector, which has accumulated a “terrible” year.

On Thursday night, the Expresso newspaper reported that until the end of the deconfinement process - which takes place in stages until mid-May -, the Government decided that events such as Formula 1 "will not have a public".

“In light of these decisions – or apparent decisions that are now in the press, but which have not yet been officially confirmed to us – it will be two more winter months now in the spring, which makes our winter last longer than a year” , said the president of APAVT, Pedro Costa Ferreira, when questioned by Lusa.

And if that is the case, he says, more than 12 months without travel agencies being able to do business, given the covid-19 pandemic, it is “a circumstance never experienced before and, of course, terrible”.

In the case of travel agencies, there was hope on the part of several companies to sell, specifically, Formula 1 packages to foreign customers.

“If it's true, we hope that one more sacrifice – because it's a sacrifice with consequences – can finally mean a return to travel, tourism, around May, June, a return to life for all of us, who really need it. ”, he says.

On March 05th, the organization of the championship announced that the Portuguese Grand Prix will once again be part of the Formula 1 World Championship, on May 02nd, for the 18th time, the second consecutive time in the Algarve.

At the time, the president and chief executive of Formula 1, Stefano Domenicali, highlighted his ambition to return to the Algarve's venue, as in 2020, when Briton Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) won the race.

“We are confident and excited about the 2021 season as we were able to demonstrate last year that it is possible to run 17 races safely and promote together from our millions of followers exciting races even in difficult times. We hope to be able to receive spectators in Portimão in a safe way again this year and we are working with the promoter on the details of that plan”, stressed Stefano Domenicali.

In the same statement, the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve (AIA) said it expected a decision “on the presence of spectators in the coming weeks”, a decision that, now according to Expresso, will have taken.

Also mentioned in the communiqué, the Secretary of State for Tourism highlighted the importance of the event for the country's notoriety.

“The holding of major events in our country is very important for the image and international promotion of Portugal as a tourist destination and, therefore, it is with great pleasure that we see the return of Formula 1 to the Algarve in 2021. I want to thank the FIA ​​( International Automobile Federation) and to Formula 1 for the confidence shown in Portugal, the Algarve and the AIA, choosing our country to receive another round of the Formula 1 calendar and expressing our total commitment to making the event a great success." said Rita Marques.

The 1 World Formula 2021 calendar predicts a record 23 races, between March 23, in Bahrain, and December 12, in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.

Formula 1 returned to Portugal on October 25, 2020, at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, after 24 years of absence from the World Cup, following the reorganization of calendars due to the covid-19 pandemic.