Singapore F1 reaps bigger harvest

THE Formula One (F1) SingTel Singapore Grand Prix continues to draw significant attention worldwide, with air bookings and flight searches showing strong improvements from the previous year.

According to findings released by Amadeus and ForwardKeys, bookings for the F1 period made until September 1, 2013 surged 12.6 per cent this year, a sharp improvement from 2012, which saw arrivals dip by 1.9 per cent from 2011.

Australia takes the top spot on the podium as the biggest source country with 17 per cent of total bookings this year, followed by the UK (eight per cent) and Indonesia (six per cent).

Driven by the Mid-Autumn Festival public holidays in Hong Kong and South Korea, Hong Kong visitors rose 37 per cent in bookings over 2012 to account for eight per cent of total bookings, taking over pole position from London as the top source city for F1 arrivals this year. While London holds on to its second placing with seven per cent of total bookings, Seoul climbed a staggering 241 per cent to reach the top three spots with six per cent of total bookings.

In addition, results show the biggest growth (29 per cent) in arrivals on Wednesday (September 18), three days before the first qualifying race, suggesting that the F1 weekend is starting earlier than before as tourists look to enjoy more of Singapore beyond the night race.

Angel Gallego, president of Amadeus Asia Pacific, said: “Travel providers will do well to take note of changing traveller behaviours, such as the increasing propensity for travellers to book last minute, to fully leverage the opportunities present.”

Overall, flight searches to Singapore for the F1 weekend are also up 10 per cent on the weekend of the event last year, according to Skyscanner data, comparing September 20-24, 2012 with September 19-23, 2013.

If comparing searches for flights to Singapore for the week of September 19-23 versus September 12-16, Hong Kong took up the prime spot with a dramatic 128 per cent increase in flight searches to Singapore, according to Skyscanner data.

Following closely behind on the grid is Taiwan, which posted an 80 per cent growth. The remainder of the top five were from farther afield, with the UAE and Australia doubling in searches, while Canada made the fifth spot with a rise of 26 per cent.

Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Cambodia also saw flight searches to Singapore increase for the F1 period.

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