After signing a deal to extend the hosting of its Formula 1 (F1) contract by seven years (the longest to date), Singapore seems to be going all-in to revive tourism post-pandemic. Around this year’s F1 Grand Prix in Singapore there will be a host of other attractions to entice both the domestic and international crowd including concerts, themed parties, raves, and more.
With Singapore Airlines as the title sponsor with a 3-year contract, the tourism focus of the event is apparent. The official website displays an array of events lined up for all three days including performances by popular bands including Westlife, Green Day, Black Eyed Peas, and more.
2019 saw the biggest ever turnout with attendance for the three days exceeding 268,000. While the turnout may not reach 2019 levels, the country can still expect a strong turnout based on the continuing increase in visitors. The relaxed rules for fully-vaccinated visitors and minimum Covid guidelines within the city could also encourage more visitors.
We looked at data for 2019’s F1 Grand Prix to get insight into which locations and attractions could expect an increase in visits in the coming weeks. Here are some key questions we tried to answer:
1) Where will visitors come from?
2019 data shows that the top 5 international visitor origin points belonged to – Australia (18.6%), Thailand (18.4%), the USA (9.9%), Malaysia (8.3%), and Indonesia (7.9%). This year we can expect the share of visitors from nearby countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand to increase due to the proximity of the location and ease of travel. But given the popularity of Formula 1 and the increasing fanbase in countries like Australia, the US, and the UK, Singapore could expect an increase in visitors from these countries as well.
We expect the majority of visitors to be domestic as seen in 2019. This could increase given the line-up of popular local acts as well.
2) Where will visitors stay?
Most hotels closer to the circuit could attract a high number of visitors staying for a 3-day period or longer. ¾ star hotels performed better comapred to 5-star hotels
Here are the hotels that saw an increase in visitors during the week of the 2019 F1 Grand Prix:
The Marina Bay Sands is also a popular tourist attraction, and the numbers include both visitors there for a meal and not just stays. The first four 5-star hotels that recorded an increase in visitors during the event week were situated between 1.5 to 3.5 km from the event venue.
Hotels too close to the circuit might not be preferred due to the expected noise pollution and blocked roads due to traffic before and after the event. For example, the Ritz Carlton, which saw a decrease was situated just 700 metres from the venue. Most hotels and boutiques might also offer additional rewards or offers for tourists visiting during the F1 season, including staycation deals for locals.
3) Where visitors might go?
Local attractions such as malls, popular cafes, and restaurants close to the circuit can expect an increase in visitors. Singapore is also known as a shopping destination for luxury clothing and beauty brands. The official website offers international tourists a curated list of retail and dining options to choose from.
We looked at 2019 data to see which brands saw an increase in visitors:
Cafes and Restaurants: Sakae Sushi, Crystal Jade, Fish & Co, Genki Sushi, Hai Di Lao, So Pho and Thai Express were some of the popular brands that saw an increase in visitors during the F1 week in 2019. All these cafes and restaurants are located within a 7 km radius of the Formula 1 circuit and close to popular 5-star and 3/4-star hotels.
The most popular malls were located farther away from the circuit than those at the bottom of the chart. For example, IMM Mall is located more than 20 km from the F1 venue but is the largest outlet mall offering a variety of brands.
This year, due to the pandemic, more visitors might choose to avoid the more crowded locations.
Potential Economic Impact on Tourism
The effects of the F1 Grand Prix could last beyond the 3-day event. Data from the Singapore Tourism Board indicates that the average length of stay for visitors has more than doubled to 7.1 days, compared to an average of 3.4 days in 2019. With an attractive line-up of performances during the three-day event, visitors might choose to postpone sightseeing or shopping until after the event.
With a huge influx of visitors staying longer and spending money at malls, restaurants, hotels, and more, there’s no question the F1 Grand Prix will be a major boon to Singapore’s tourism.