Buyers welcome F1 in ThailandTimothy France, reporting from IT&CMA and CTW, Bangkok, October 4, 2012
INTERNATIONAL MICE buyers from Europe and around the world welcome the prospect of an international Formula One (F1) Grand Prix in Thailand.
The kingdom is inching closer to securing a race for the 2014 F1 season after the Sports Authority of Thailand announced that F1 chairman, Bernie Ecclestone, had agreed in principle to a night race on the streets of Bangkok.
Responding to the prospect of a Thailand Grand Prix, Belgium-based travel consultant Marc Lambert of Antipodes Voyages said: “We already run F1 trips to Asia and this is booming business. It would be great if Thailand can secure a place on the race calendar, and it will certainly grow business to the country.”
These events usually attract corporate groups, whereby companies will bring their top customers in small groups. These are high-profile and high-yield travellers, often combining business with leisure.
Groups visiting the Singapore Grand Prix will typically begin the trip with a meeting, attend the race, and then spend a few days doing leisure activities such as golf.
Although the event is a great incentive opportunity, it has limited appeal as interest groups tend to be male-dominated.
Asked how the event may be packaged, Bart Declerck, event consultant of DDMC Event Design Belgium, said: “I see the Grand Prix as a potential incentive for sales people. We always try to match the product to the client, so as a male-orientated high-octane sport, motor racing complements their competitive personalities.”
Hosting an international event of this stature will not only create direct business for the travel sector, but also raise Thailand’s profile as an international MICE destination.
“To secure the race would signify to everyone that Thailand is moving up in the world. It would have a psychological impact on clients who would see the country in a different way,” said Gordon Owen of UK’s Messrs G Owen & Co.
“If the Grand Prix really does come to Thailand, it would help overcome resistance that organisers may have towards the destination.”