Formula One races are big events seen by a global audience and keenly followed by avid fans. Each country that hosts the event experiences a surge in tourism numbers at a rate much higher than the global rate. It is considered to be the most frequented sports event in the world after the Summer Olympic Games marked by high travel numbers. Here are the top 10 Formula One races that generate the most money from tourism.
10 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix
The Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix was first held in 2004. It holds the distinction of being the first F1 grand prix to be held in the Middle East. It is considered as one of the best organized grand prix, even winning an award from the FIA. It was not raced in 2011 due to widespread political protests in the country that year. Still, the country experiences a boom in its tourism industry every time the race is held, probably because Gulf Air offers reduced prices on its airfare to visitors to the Grand Prix.
9 Turkey Grand Prix
The Turkish Grand Prix was first raced in 2005, though it was taken off the F1 calendar after the 2011 season. The track takes inspiration from other speedways around the world. When it was still being raced, it owned probably the trickiest corner in F1 as its turn 8 features a quadruple apex corner with a load of 5g. During its time, tourism in Turkey would spike up by as much as 60.5 percent whenever the race was held. This was despite the fact that the country already had an established tourism industry. Its government actually encouraged tourism by lifting visa requirements during race week.
8 Magyar Nagydij Hungarian Grand Prix
The Hungarian Grand Prix has been a fixture of the F1 championship since 1986. At that time, Hungary was still under communist rule. It therefore got the distinction of hosting the first F1 race behind the Iron Curtain. The race is popular because of its predictable weather, having rained only once ever since the country started hosting. The race is particularly popular among Finns, with most tourists staying an average of more than five days during the race proper. Authorities estimate that 85 percent of foreign visitors go to Hungary because of the race.
7 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
The Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was first raced in 2009 at the acclaimed Yas Marina circuit designed by Hermann Tilke. It is the first F1 event to be staged as a day-night race as it starts at 5 o’clock in the afternoon, Abu Dhabi time. Floodlights, however, are switched on right from the start to help ease the transition to darkness. Abu Dhabi has seen a 4.8 percent in its tourism sector because of the race.
6 Grand Prix de Monaco
The Grand Prix de Monaco is considered to be the most important and prestigious of all the F1 races. Along with the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it forms the Triple Crown of the most famous motor races in the world. It has already been awarded by the FIA for the glamour and prestige it brings to the sport. It is the only Grand Prix below the FIA’s mandated 305 kilometers of racing distance.
5 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix
The SingTel Singapore Grand Prix was first held in 2008 and is scheduled to remain on the calendar until the 2017 season. It is the first Grand Prix in Asia to have a street circuit. In its inaugural season, it helped boost tourism revenue by as much as $132 million. Over the course of the next three years, the F1 race helped boost tourism revenues in the tiny city-state by as much as $278 million.
4 Korean Grand Prix
The Korean Grand Prix was first held in 2010 and is scheduled to remain on the calendar until 2016, with an additional option to add five more years until 2021. The race is held at the Korea International Circuit over a 5.615 kilometer circuit run over 55 laps. The entire race length is just a little over 308 kilometers. While the country already has a stable tourism industry, the F1 event still managed to pull in an additional 12.5 percent of tourists.
3 Rolex Australian Grand Prix
The Rolex Australian Grand Prix has been a part of the F1 calendar since 1985. The race was originally held in Adelaide until it was transferred to Melbourne in 1996. It is held at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit that is 5.303 kilometers long over 58 laps for a total of more than 307 kilometers. The race has helped bring in around 18 percent more tourists into the city. Additionally, more than half of these tourists also travel to other states of Australia, with most of them likely to stay for at least seven more days.
2 UBS Chinese Grand Prix
The UBS Chinese Grand Prix was first held in 2004. The race is held at the Shanghai International Circuit that has a length of 5.451 kilometers. Drivers navigate the track 56 times for a total length of 305.066 kilometers. It is one of the most expensive F1 circuit facilities ever done, with cost running to nearly $240 million. It features a turn combination that is currently the trickiest in the F1 calendar with the demise of the Turkish Grand Prix. The track’s turn 1 and turn 2 has a right handed corner 270 degree combination that provides a lot of speed and momentum coming in but would tighten up going out. The event has helped China add 22.7 million tourists annually.
1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix
The Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix was first held in 1999. The event has helped the Malaysian tourism industry as visitor numbers have spiked up by 342.8 percent, with more than 24.6 million tourists coming in for the race. When the race was first held in the country, it only attracted 5.6 million visitors. The number has since increased by leaps and bounds.
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