• Formula Money

New race hosts get 69% increase in tourism

ESPN Staff
July 18, 2012 « Nurburgring future in doubt | Clos gets third HRT run at Hockenheim »
Austin will be the latest location on the Formula One calendar when it hosts a race at the Circuit of the Americas later this year © Circuit of the Americas

The seven most recent countries to join the Formula One calendar have experienced an average boost in tourism of 69% since their first race, according to new research from Formula Money, F1's industry monitor.

Formula Money calculated the difference between the number of tourists in each of the race host countries from the year before they joined the F1 calendar to the end of 2010, based on tourism measurements from the United Nations. The Formula Money analysis showed that every one of the countries experienced an increase in tourism after hosting F1 for the first time and that the boost was significantly higher than the global upsurge in tourism during the period, which stood at only 48%.

The biggest benefit was felt in Malaysia, which was the first of the newcomers to join F1 in 1999. In the year prior to its F1 debut, only 5.6m international tourists visited the country. However, by 2010 this had increased to 24.6m tourists, a boost of 342.8%.

Other countries which performed strongly include China, which has added 22.7m tourists to its annual tally since it first held a Grand Prix in 2004, and Turkey, which saw its annual number of visitors increase by 60.5% to 27m, despite already having a well-established tourism industry.

Even the newest additions to F1's calendar have witnessed an increase in tourism in the short time since they joined F1. The United Arab Emirates has seen tourism grow 4.8% since the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2009 while tourism in South Korea increased 12.5% during its first year as an F1 race host.

It is further evidence of why governments around the world are so keen to get involved in F1. Total attendance at F1 races hit 3.4m in 2011, according to research by Formula Money, but many more people around the world were introduced to cities such as Singapore, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and Abu Dhabi through F1 race broadcasts and additional coverage of the races in the news. The sport attracts 515 million television viewers annually, giving F1 global marketing power and it is for this reason that venues are queuing up to join F1 in the near future, including Austin in 2012.

In total, the newcomers received 137.2m international tourists in 2010, compared to just 81.2m before the start of their contracts. With the newest races already experiencing a boost, there is no indication that the influx is going to slow down.