Do F1 benefits roll on after race week?

Do F1 benefits roll on after race week?

This year, Singapore hosted the Formula One (F1) for the seventh time, with Singapore Airlines taking over from SingTel as main sponsor for two years. But is this strategic tie-up - hosting the F1 in Singapore - ideal for the country as a whole?

This iconic tourist event, which came at a total cost of $150 million for the first five years, was brought in to brand the nation as "fun and bold" and give a boost to tourism - a sector which accounts for 4 per cent of Singapore's economic output.

Some 40 per cent of the racegoers come from overseas, including those who travel here to take part in conventions scheduled to coincide with the Singapore Grand Prix.

Since 2008, when the night race was launched in Singapore, an estimated 250,000 tourists have visited the country each year during the race weekend, bringing in incremental tourist receipts of more than $100 million per year.

This is more than the estimated $30 million it costs Singapore to host the event each year.Some experts expect costs to fall by 15 per cent to 20 per cent as organisers learn to run the event more efficiently and can reuse some of the structures for the race.

The Grand Prix can be a shot in the arm for tourism, especially in a year of aircraft tragedies and regional political unrest, which has seen tourist arrivals here slipping 2.8 per cent year-on-year to 7.5 million in the first six months.

Beyond the race weekend itself, does the F1 give tourism a boost? Do people who come to Singapore to attend the event return in the year? Do some, among the hundreds of millions who watch it on television in their home countries, feel the lure of Singapore and holiday here?

In short, does it generate further revenue in the weeks and months after the event?

There isn't a lot of data to answer this.

One Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study in 2012 found that some 10 per cent of the high-net-worth people who watched the broadcast of the night race said they were more likely to travel to Singapore. Do they actually do so?

A more comprehensive study that includes this lagged effect will provide a more complete picture of the returns Singapore gets from this event.

Studies can also be conducted to determine when the incremental revenue from F1 starts to dip. These can assist the Singapore Tourism Board in its planning to encourage tourists to further increase their stay and spending here.

Beyond financial returns, the F1 was brought in to add more buzz to Singapore's image. How much has this perception changed, given that impressions do not change overnight?

The BCG study found that 30 per cent to 40 per cent of the same high-net-worth people who watched the night race broadcast had an improved impression and awareness of Singapore.

As one of the objectives of bringing in the Grand Prix is to reposition Singapore as a fun and bold city, annual tracking studies need to be conducted to assess whether the perceptions of Singapore on these two dimensions have indeed improved, not only immediately after the event, but also over time.

Ideally, perceptions of Singapore prior to the launch of the Grand Prix here in 2008 would serve as the benchmark.

Short of having those pre-Grand Prix numbers, researchers will have to rely on the incremental gains that the F1 adds to the fun and bold factor each year.

It may well be that, over time, there will be a ceiling where the Grand Prix is no longer as effective as it was in enhancing Singapore's image.

More about

Purchase this article for republication.



Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.