Nightlife sec­tor in pole po­si­tion to profit from F1

Today - - SINGAPORE | NEWS - AN­GelA teNG an­ge­lateng@me­di­a­corp.com.sg

SIN­GA­PORE — Two months ahead of the Formula 1 Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix (GP) week­end — which starts tonight — the Smoke & Mir­rors bar was al­ready plan­ning for the three-day event.

All of its out­door ta­bles, which face the race ac­tion, sold out weeks in ad­vance of what is usu­ally its most highly an­tic­i­pated event every year.

Full-time staff work longer hours while more part-timers are taken on to cater to the surge in de­mand, bar man­ager Koo Chee Wai said.

Like Smoke & Mir­rors, many bars and ho­tels near the race cir­cuit have seen an in­crease in tak­ings as the mar­quee event raised their pro­file over the years.

Even with the Sin­ga­pore GP head­ing into its tenth year this week­end, ho­tel rooms fac­ing the track are still be­ing snapped up months be­fore the event.

The Sin­ga­pore GP has also brought more tourists here.

They of­ten stay on af­ter the race to en­joy other ex­pe­ri­ences in Sin­gaThree pore, ho­tel rep­re­sen­ta­tives say. The Grand Park City Hall — a ho­tel close to the race cir­cuit — is usu­ally full dur­ing the F1 week­end, ac­cord­ing to Mr Te­jveer Singh Bedi, group rev­enue di­rec­tor for Park Ho­tel Group which man­ages the prop­erty.

He added that the ho­tel re­ceives en­quiries as early as one year be­fore the race.

At an­other track­side ho­tel, Man­darin Ori­en­tal, room oc­cu­pan­cies are ex­pected to be high for the Fri­day-toSun­day race week­end, ac­cord­ing to its di­rec­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions Ms Usha Brock­man. The clien­tele con­sists of “a good mix” of cor­po­rate and in­de­pen­dent guests, in­clud­ing Sin­ga­pore­ans, she said.

As the Sin­ga­pore GP en­ters the fi­nal year of its cur­rent five-year deal, ho­tels and the Sin­ga­pore Nightlife Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion (SNBA) — which rep­re­sents a to­tal of 443 op­er­a­tors — are call­ing for the con­tract to be re­newed.

Its president Den­nis Foo said this year must not be the last for the Sin­ga­pore GP.

“F1 Sin­ga­pore GP took the world’s The Smoke & Mir­rors bar of­fers track­side views and its ta­bles usu­ally sell out weeks in ad­vance of the race. top rac­ing event to an­other level,” he said. “Not only is Sin­ga­pore’s night race the first in the world, it added a new di­men­sion to the rac­ing world. With it, Sin­ga­pore at­tracted so many top in­ter­na­tional artistes to its con­cert event. The F1 needs Sin­ga­pore as much as we need them.

“Now that Malaysia’s Sepang cir­cuit is no longer con­tin­u­ing with their F1, if Sin­ga­pore car­ries on, we will be the only F1 race in the re­gion and will have even bet­ter turnouts.”

Since its de­but in 2008, the Sin­ga­pore GP has boosted the Repub­lic’s tourism sec­tor, at­tract­ing more than 350,000 in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors over the past eight races — ex­clud­ing the 2009 race — and gen­er­at­ing an av­er­age of nearly S$150 mil­lion in in­cre­men­tal tourism re­ceipts each year, the Sin­ga­pore Tourism Board said.

The year 2009 was an anom­aly, with the econ­omy ca­reen­ing into a re­ces­sion amid the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

Asked by TO­DAY about the status of con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions, a Min­istry of Trade and In­dus­try spokesper­son said: “We are in dis­cus­sions with Formula One on the term re­newal for F1 and are care­fully con­sid­er­ing sev­eral is­sues. More de­tails will be shared when ready.”

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