Formula 1 Bahrain… an important tourist and investment destination
Imagine that you are a spectator inside the Bahrain Formula 1 Circuit, watching one of the most important championships… You hear from time to time the roar of cars that line up behind each other, waiting for the green light signal to go off, readying to compete against each other to reach the finish line and celebrate the winner, while the cheers of the fans chant to encourage their favorite drivers, who in turn feel a mixture of emotions: tense and excited at the same time, with their “adrenaline” levels at an all-time high!
But wait, another race would also be taking place behind the scenes among major companies in business sectors, themselves racing to invest in these events, make profits, and attract more fans, such as Gulf Air, the official sponsor of Formula 1 in Bahrain since inception.
In the following, we will take you on a journey inside the scenes of the Formula 1 races in Bahrain to learn about some important numbers.
Bahrain’s journey began to host Formula 1 races in 2004, becoming the first Arab country to hold such sporting events on its soil, and since that time the annual season has turned into a major tourist festival that attracts young and old and is attended by global leaders, presidents, and senior officials.
Perhaps the most prominent evidence of Bahrain’s success in hosting the races, especially the last version of it, which ran from 17 to 20 last March, is the extension of the F1 contract until 2036 at the very least, which will contribute to achieving more compounded returns in the coming years.
The number of fans reached a record number, as the Bahrain International Circuit announced at the conclusion of the Bahrain Grand Prix for the Gulf Air Formula 1, that the number of fans who attended reached 98,000 people during the four days of the race event.
Another 35,000 people attended the race day, a historic record in the history of the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix, as well as the highest international attendance for international audiences, an increase of 50 percent compared to 2019.
It should be noted that 1.8 billion people watch the races annually on television, and has 40 million followers on social networks. F1 consists of 22 rounds held in several countries around the world, including 3 Arab countries: Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
While the races were taking place in broad daylight, the year 2014 saw the start of night races in Bahrain after the circuit was equipped with giant floodlights to avoid the heat of the day, attract a larger audience, and organize parties and a nightly event synchronized with the races.
The cost of constructing the Bahrain Car Racing Circuit amounted to 150 million dollars.
The economic returns were equivalent to an average of $100 million annually, While analysts estimate that the indirect economic benefits from Bahrain’s organization of the races may reach half a billion dollars annually via encouraging tourism and highlighting its investment attractiveness.
Following a slowdown in the hotel sector from the repercussions of Coronavirus, the occupancy rate of Bahraini hotels during the race period ranged from about 70 percent to 100 percent in some hotels, driven by the easing of the procedures for the flow of visitors from Saudi across the bridge connecting the two countries.
Bahrain has also worked and is still investing in the sports sector, by establishing an advanced infrastructure that serves Formula 1, including the new exhibition center near the Bahrain International Circuit, where the state has invested the returns by activating the facilities to host the race and the accompanying activities. Economic analysts suggest that Formula 1can be used to promote the golden residence visa in the Kingdom, given that the circuit is an important center for an elite group of people wishing to obtain this type of residence, especially investors and high net worth individuals.
Growth in the tire market
In addition to these numbers, comes the role of the tire market, which is witnessing a recovery and growth due to the high number of car races, acting as a major driver for this market. The tire market value is expected to reach $43 billion by 2026 and is expected to register a compounded annual growth rate of more than 6.5 percent during the forecast period 2021-2026.
Investment in tourism
On the other hand, the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority has benefited from the “Formula 1” event in promoting Bahrain as a tourist destination, in the region and the world, and introducing tourist destinations alongside a program of events throughout the year.
The authority invested the presence of 38 international tourism agents in Bahrain to organize a full program for them, which includes introducing them closely to the most prominent attractions in the Bahraini tourism sector, and the unprecedented development witnessed by the tourism infrastructure in Bahrain via big projects, including the related new exhibition center Business tourism, and coastal development projects such as the Galali Coast, Diving and Bahrain Bay, in addition to private sector projects such as Al Dana Theater, Saadeh Project, Marassi, and others.
And based on the great success achieved in the Formula 1 edition this year, attracting nearly 100,000 visitors from outside Bahrain, and achieving a 50 percent increase in the number of international tourists, the authority has also allocated part of this visit in order to agree on the development of competitive and attractive tourism packages, the companies and offices of the tourism agents participating in the visit will promote in the markets of the countries in which they work.