F1 visitors magically increased when ticket sales at an all-time low?

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The estimated cost of holding F1 in Singapore is around $150 million each year, is it even worth enough for the purpose of attracting more international visitors? 

I refer to the article “Formula One: Singapore Grand Prix signs a 4-year extension to host night race” (Straits Times, Sep 16).

It states that “including this year’s race, Singapore had hosted over 450,000 international visitors, who had contributed about $1.4 billion in incremental tourism receipts.”

Does this mean that the estimated incremental tourism receipts are about $3,111 ($1.4 billion divided by 450,000) per visitor?

As to “The cost of hosting the race around the Marina Bay Street Circuit was estimated to cost around $150 million each year … costs had come down by about $15 million a year to $135 million.

“This is noteworthy especially as operational costs, in general, have continued to rise over the past 10 years” – does this mean that the total sum that we spent – about $1.5 billion ($150 million x 10 years) is about the same as the incremental tourism receipts of $1.4 billion ($140 million a year)?

In this connection, according to the article “Dropping Singapore F1 race may not have significant impact on tourism: Experts” (Channel NewsAsia, Nov 24, 2016) – “if the race no longer continues the impact on the tourism industry is unlikely to be significant, according to industry experts Channel NewsAsia spoke to.

“Some local businesses have been affected by the road closures for the night race, and can’t run their businesses effectively”.

According to the article “F1: A1 for wooing tourists, but do local businesses benefit?” (Straits Times, Sep 27, 2014) – “Businesses around the circuit suffer when road closures block access to their establishments. Sadly, some of these are small local businesses. Retailers at Suntec City mall reported experiencing at least a 20 percent drop in business this year during the F1 week.”

With regard to “Ticket sales fell last year to around 73,000 for each of the three days of the race weekend.

In 2015, the average was 87,000 and the highest was 100,000 in 2008 when the first Singapore Grand Prix was hosted” – “According to its (Singapore Tourism Board) statistics, the race has attracted 350,000 international visitors over the last 8 years of the race”.

So, how is it possible that the average of 43,750 international visitors per year in the first 8 years (350,000 divided by 8) until 2015 can become 450,000 by this year?

Do you mean to tell us that the number of the two years (2016 – 2017) has magically increased to 50,000 a year (450,000 – 350,000 divided by 2) from 43,750 a year when ticket sales have been declining to an all-time low in 2016?

In the final analysis – perhaps we need to ask ourselves – are there any countries in the world, whereby the Government spent more on F1 ($150 million a year) than social welfare (ComCare increasing from $50 million in FY2008 to $130 million in FY2015)?

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong
Leong Sze Hian has served as president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), invited to speak more than 200 times in over 30 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Indonesia and Brunei. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.