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Flight bookings to Singapore ahead of Grand Prix reveal a 63% year-on-year surge

Singapore Grand Prix (Photo: Visit Singapore)
Singapore Grand Prix (Photo: Visit Singapore)

Ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, travel marketing platform Sojern offers insights into the surging international interest in Singapore’s F1 event, contrasting it with Japan’s Grand Prix and highlighting key travel trends for 2023.

SINGAPORE – As the second Formula One (F1) Singapore Grand Prix since the COVID-19 pandemic approaches, Singapore is gearing up to once again host its highly anticipated night race in mid-September. Amidst the backdrop of the island city welcoming over 2.9 million visitors in the first quarter of 2023, representing about two-thirds of pre-COVID-19 levels, the recovery of the tourism sector remains evident, with the Grand Prix being a consistent favourite among international travellers. Sojern, the leading travel marketing platform, shares travel trends and insights ahead of Singapore’s Grand Prix, along with a comparison to the upcoming Japanese Grand Prix 2023, slated for just a week later.

  • Strong Momentum to Singapore: When Sojern compares the most recent periods of 2023 and 2022 (specifically the week of 1st August 2023 versus the week of 1st August 2022), international flights bookings preceding the Grand Prix exhibit an impressive 63% increase that’s still on the rise.

  • Peak Travel Dynamics: Much like in 2022, Sojern reveals that the day right before the race weekend, September 15th, remains the prime travel date. However, interestingly, inbound travel to Singapore begins its upward surge about a week before the event, suggesting travellers’ desire to maximise their time in the country.

  • Inbound Travel: Singapore vs. Japan: Contrasting these patterns, Sojern’s data underscores a distinct absence of a peak in inbound travel to Japan during the Formula One week leading up to the September 24th kickoff. The spotlight, in this case, shifts to Chinese Golden Week—a period when many Chinese enjoy eight consecutive days off this year—bringing a surge of Chinese travellers to Japan. The difference could be attributed to Japan’s larger size and less singular dependence on a sporting event for travel trends.

  • Feeder Regions Focused on Singapore: Throughout the Formula One week, travellers from Oceania and North America outpace typical weeks, while East Asian travel diminishes. Sojern notes that the composition of travellers during the 2023 race week closely resembles that of 2019. In comparison, East Asian travel has returned to its typical patterns in 2023, after deviations seen in 2022. Overall, the F1 race attracts a higher volume of Western visitors in contrast to those from East and Southeast Asia. The leading feeder markets comprise Western Europe (constituting 26% of total flight bookings),* East Asia (25%), Oceania (16%, 5 percentage points up from the 2023 average week), Southeast Asia (13%), and North America (9%, 5 percentage points up from the 2023 average week).

  • Zooming in on Singapore’s Feeder Markets: Australia (14%) and the UK (11%) lead the pack during this year’s F1 week, outperforming East Asian countries that typically dominate during normal weeks. Following are the United States (7%), Japan (7%) and India (6%). Australia and the UK, consistently display eagerness to travel to Singapore during race week. On the flip side, F1 doesn’t seem to hold special appeal for East and Southeast Asian travellers, as their numbers align with those of normal weeks in 2023. Notably, travel from India has significantly dropped compared to the 2022 F1 week (14% in 2022 versus 6% this year).

  • Japan’s Feeder Regions in Focus: In contrast to Singapore’s F1 scene, Sojern recognises that the Japanese Grand Prix garners a much larger number of travellers from East Asia, encompassing over half (51%) of the total influx, with North America comprising nearly a fifth (17%). This year’s 51% is a substantial increase from 2022 (28%), driven mainly by the recovery of China and South Korea’s international travel. Similar to Singapore, North Americans and Oceanians increase their presence during Japan’s F1 week.

  • Drilling Down into Japan’s Feeder Markets: South Korea (21%) and the United States (13%) lead the list of origin countries during Japan’s F1 week, while Australians show exceptional enthusiasm this year, resulting in a twofold increase in traveller numbers. Furthermore, more Chinese travellers are heading to Japan for F1 in 2023 compared to the average week (9% versus 6%). There’s also a slight increase in UK travellers visiting Japan for F1. However, in Singapore’s F1 week, British travellers outnumber their Japanese counterparts (constituting 3% of total flight bookings for Japan versus 11% of total flight bookings for Singapore), indicating a preference for the Singaporean F1 experience.

  • Duration of Stays: The majority of travellers are spending less than a week in Singapore. In comparison to 2022, a slightly higher proportion of travellers (15% in 2023 versus 8% in 2022) are staying for 2-3 days during the F1 week in 2023, possibly indicating a desire to experience the entire race weekend. On the flip side, slightly fewer travellers are opting for 3-5 day stays (27% in 2023 versus 31% in 2022).

“As we look ahead to the upcoming Singapore Grand Prix, it’s truly heartening to see that the allure of the race remains strong for travellers to Singapore,” said Lina Ang, Managing Director APAC, Sojern. “Despite being the newer of the two races, it’s intriguing to note that our island city surpasses Japan in terms of international interest in the Grand Prix. This presents a tangible opportunity for destination marketers to leverage traveller intent data and make the most of stays to amplify their impact. Moreover, if you’re a hotel fully booked during the race period, sustaining your digital marketing presence is paramount. Now is the moment to showcase your amenities, ensuring guests are fully informed about your offerings and where they can spend their time when they’re not trackside cheering for their favourite driver.”

*Unless otherwise specified percentages, refers to the percentage of total flight bookings 

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