Sports Event Formula One

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The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at www.emeraldinsight.com/1785-2954.htm

IJEFM
1,1

Sports events and tourism: the
Singapore Formula One
Grand Prix

60

Joan C. Henderson
Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Ken Foo
Grand Hyatt Hotel, Singapore

Hermes Lim
Hilton Hotels, Singapore, and

Serene Yip
Resorts World at Sentosa/Universal Studios, Singapore
Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the significance of the inaugural Singapore Formula One Grand Prix within a tourism context. Impacts of the event and attitudes towards it are explored with a view to illuminating the consequences of and challenges inherent in sports events tourism for destinations with limited prior experience.

Design/methodology/approach – A case study approach is employed and the account is based upon the collection and analysis of materials in the public domain. This information is supplemented by primary data obtained from a survey of local residents and personal observation. Findings – The Singapore Grand Prix is an example of sports events tourism, a subset of events tourism, which now has an important role in development and marketing strategies. Official expectations of the particular event seem to have been largely met, but understanding of its costs and benefits varies and whether the latter outweighs the former remains to be determined. Lessons have been learned from the experience, but the dynamic environment of tourism means constant change and new dilemmas to confront. Originality/value – The use of sports events in tourism strategies is a comparatively recent trend in parts of Asia and the case of Singapore reveals some of the underlying factors and forces at work. Insights are afforded into impacts of major sports contests at such destinations and the obstacles to overcome in pursuit of success.

Keywords Singapore, Sporting events, Tourism management
Paper type Case study

International Journal of Event and
Festival Management
Vol. 1 No. 1, 2010
pp. 60-73
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
1785-2954
DOI 10.1108/17852951011029306

Introduction
Certain events have the capacity to attract large numbers of visitors and their spending and are often sought after by public sector tourism agencies because of their actual and potential contribution to tourism development and marketing. Major sporting occasions can perform such a function and motor racing is the subject of this paper which deals with the specific case of the Singapore Grand Prix, one of the latest additions to the Formula One (F1) calendar alongside Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, China, India and possibly South Korea. The 2008 Singapore race was the first of a total of five planned and represents the city state’s endeavours to promote events tourism in moves which are indicative of a wider trend within Asia and elsewhere.

This study is exploratory and aims to investigate the significance of what can be classed as a major sporting event of international renown and its implications from the perspectives of officials, private businesses and residents. Singapore is an interesting context within which to explore the use of events as a visitor attraction and ensuing outcomes due to enthusiasm for the approach there in recent years when the strategy has been espoused by a well-resourced National Tourism Organisation backed by the government. There are some signs of progress to date and the case also illuminates considerations which are critical to the success of sports events tourism, especially at destinations with little prior experience.

After a review of the literature, the analytical framework derived for use in the paper is presented. Subsequent sections deal with the tourism industry in Singapore, planning and management of the Grand Prix and its impacts. Matters of learning from event hosting and the influence of wider environmental forces are then addressed before a final...
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