This year’s Formula One (F1) Singapore Grand Prix is set to see its biggest turnout since its first night race back in 2008, with flight bookings up 305% since the start of 2022.
With the majority of Covid restrictions now lifted, visitor arrivals in Singapore rose for the sixth consecutive month in July to 726,601, up from 543,733 in June, according to the Singapore Tourism Board.
Bookings have bounced back from 13% to 50% of 2019 levels, demonstrating strong interest in travel to the Lion City. In the leadup to the F1, Oceania, primarily Australia, has shown the greatest interest in Singapore travel, up 17% in 2022 versus 2019.
Other notable regions with market share increases compared to 2019 volumes include South Asia (+5%), Western Europe (+3%), Middle East (+1%), with Sojern anticipating that neighbouring regions such as South-east Asia and East Asia will also increase closer to the F1 date.
Australia retains its position as Singapore’s top origin country in 2022, while increasing its market share at the same time (+18% from 18% in 2019 vs 36% in 2022). Other notable countries moving up in 2022 are India (+6% from 4% in 2019 vs 10% in 2022), the Philippines (+5% in 2022), and Indonesia (-3% from 7% in 2019 vs to 4% in 2022), with new countries for 2022 including the UK and South Korea in sixth and 10th places respectively.
The US (8%) and Thailand (6%) remain in the top five while China and Japan drop out of the top 10 in 2022, due to ongoing inbound and outbound travel restrictions in both countries.
Flight booking popularity is moving towards the middle of the week, peaking on Thursday, while hotel booking popularity is moving towards the weekend on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The shift may be attributable to travellers seeking to maximise their time in Singapore ahead of the race to immerse themselves in the city’s melting pot of cultures.
Lead time for booking flights and hotels demonstrates very forward planning with 76% of flight bookings and 88% of hotel bookings being made 60+ days ahead of the race compared to only 36% of flights and 12% of hotel bookings in 2019. With post-pandemic airline tickets at an all-time high, longer lead times may be due to travellers seeking to secure favourable flight rates.
At the same time, both flight and hotel bookings showcase interest for longer stays during the 2022 F1 period, with travellers maximising their stay in light of surging international flight costs.
Both weekend (51%) and week-long (27%) travel have increased for hotels in comparison to only 31% and 15% in 2019, a sign of F1 being a strong draw for tourists to Singapore.
Business travel for the 2022 F1 period has dropped for both flight and hotel bookings making up only 4% of flight bookings compared to 10% in 2019.
Based on flight booking data, couples and family travel has become more popular at the expense of solo travel, making up 33% and 18% respectively compared to 28% and 8% in 2019. Solo travellers still make up most of the market share for hotels at 96% compared to 48% in 2019.
As the end of travel restrictions continues to spark a surge in flight demand that exceeds supply, the news that Singapore Airlines plans to increase services to destinations across the world is welcome news to the industry and travellers alike. Operating at a total passenger capacity of 61% in May, compared with pre-Covid levels, the group expects to operate at 81% capacity of pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year.
Sojern anticipates the airline’s increase in services will bring down higher than average airfares and encourage further travel.