There’s more to adding up economic benefits of F1 event

Dear Straits Times,

I refer to the 25 Dec 2010 letter by Singapore Tourism Board’s Mr Justin Chew.

According to Mr Chew, deducting costs from tourism receipts will not accurately reflect an event’s impact. But will trumpeting tourism receipts without accounting for costs be more accurate?

According to Mr Chew too, comparing visitor numbers against those of the entire year’s will also not be accurate. But without doing so, how would we know if the visitor numbers are not due to favourable conditions exhibited throughout this year rather than to one event alone?

It would be good if Mr Chew can quantify the economic benefits for events management, transportation, logistics and food and beverage companies. In the context of Singapore’s overall development, how significant are these compared to the billion dollar sizes of these industries? For job creation, F1 being a once-a-year event will mostly generate temporary jobs only.

The great majority of Singaporeans only got to watch the F1 on TV so the supposedly unique downtown experience is nothing more than watching another F1 race on TV which hardly makes for a more attractive city to live, work and play.

The Singapore Tourism Board can conduct a survey to find out how many people know of Hockenheim. The city is part of the F1 circuit yet not many people know it despite 195 million international viewers watching its races. We should therefore take care not to overstate the publicity value of F1’s global coverage.

In the context of Singapore’s overall development, F1’s impact is limited and should not be overstated.

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