Thailand revs up F1 bid

Posted on September 5, 2011

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Thailand will bid to stage a Formula One race to help spur tourism and meeting businesses, according to the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB).

 

TCEB president Akapol Sorasuchart said the agency was responding to calls by businesses to bring in or hold big events to enhance the country’s reputation among foreign tourists now that local political conditions have improved.

Formula One races are seen as major tourism money-spinners for their host countries and also bring huge worldwide media exposure.

Mr Akapol said the bureau would ask experts to help estimate the revenue the country could receive from staging a race.

Next year, 20 countries will hold FIA Formula One World Championship races including Malaysia, Singapore, China, India, Japan, South Korea and Abu Dhabi.

A recent one-day demonstration race by a Red Bull Formula One car on Bangkok streets attracted 150,000 spectators and this prompted the TCEB to think about holding a race in Thailand.

Mr Akapol said Singapore sold about 120,000 Formula One tickets last year.

The event, he said, helped the city-state draw one million foreign tourists in the periods immediately before, during and after the race, with hotels almost fully booked. Room rates jumped to 50,000 to 60,000 baht a night at premium hotels from 5,000 to 6,000 baht.

As well, the country generated revenue from landing fees for private jets and helicopters and dock charges for yachts of wealthy race spectators.

Singapore will stage this year’s Formula One race, the only night-time event on the global circuit, on Sept 23-25.

“Building an F1 circuit is very costly but it would be useful after the races end,” said Mr Akapol. “I think that street racing is interesting for Thailand because it involves lower investment. A good location would be Ratchadamnoen Avenue because it has a good atmosphere.”

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Posted in: Bangkok