- POSTED: 19 Sep 2013 00:41
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99 per cent of Formula 1 tickets have been snapped up ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend.
SINGAPORE: 99 per cent of Formula 1 tickets have been snapped up ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend.
That means huge crowds are expected in the Marina Bay area when the race kicks off on Friday.
However, as streets in the vicinity went into lockdown on Wednesday to prepare the race circuit, businesses around Singapore were already feeling the F1 effects.
The Singapore Flyer, located in the heart of the Singapore Grand Prix circuit, reported a slight dip in ridership as surrounding streets were closed.
Businesses within the attraction also took a hit.
"During the road closure, definitely, business drops, because there's not much traffic, not like ordinary day. About 90 per cent of the business drop," said Mr Zulkifli Daud, director of sale at Royal Palm.
The nearby Suntec City mall is offering complimentary parking and gift vouchers to lure customers, but traffic snarls in Marina Bay have not helped tenants in the area.
Some shoppers feel the traffic jams cause too much inconvenience, while others are unimpressed by the free parking and gift.
However, hotels in the Marina Bay area are revving up in a different gear.
Pan Pacific Singapore has over 90 per cent occupancy booked for the race weekend while the Grand Park City Hall hotel near the race track says its occupancy exceeds 91 per cent for the same period.
Fullerton Hotel said it was fully booked -- three months earlier in 2013 than the year before. Guests taking higher-end rooms, or suites, can enjoy commanding views of the Formula 1 action from the hotel's rooftop.
In addition, the view encompasses the Padang, where concerts featuring international celebrities will be held. It costs a minimum of S$6,800 a night for a suite, which comes with complimentary glasses of fruit juice or champagne.
General manager of The Fullerton Heritage Giovanni Viterale, said: "We have a good balance of corporate and leisure business, and our focus is really to keep our customers coming back, year after year."
Although Orchard Road is further away from the action, this year's F1 sales campaign stretches over five weeks, compared to four weeks in 2012.
"While the races are happening in the Marina circuit, most of the tourists will come down to Orchard Road, because Orchard Road is well-known throughout the world. And the tourists come down as early as 7am to look around," said executive director of the Orchard Road Business Association Steven Goh.
The Orchard Road Business Association is projecting a five to 10 per cent increase in business for the 2013 Grand Prix season, which is higher than the previous year.
It started its marketing campaign two weeks earlier than in 2012, with three more public spaces dedicated to race merchandise than last year.
Meanwhile, ticket sales for the race this year are expected to exceed last year's total number of 84,317 visitors.
And, sales for next year's race have kicked off -- with the race organisers describing the initial response as "fantastic."