Economic and social benefits of Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix outlined in Baku
A panel session titled 'Economic and social benefits of Formula 1 races' was held in Baku today, during which head of Marketing and Communications Department of the Baku City Circuit Nigar Arpadarai spoke about Azerbaijan's benefits from the Republican Grand Prix, the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza reported.
"The audience of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix is growing every year. Last year it reached 83 million spectators. We have already held three Grand Prix races, and two of them were chosen as the best races of the season. Today our goal is to hold the most spectacular races in the history of Formula 1, so that fans prefer the Azerbaijan Grand Prix from to all world races," she said.
Nigar Arpadarai noted that the extension of the contract with Formula 1 till 2023 would allow Azerbaijan to earn additional $50 million over five years. "The extension of the contract will give the country new sources of income, including through sponsorship and advertising. Azerbaijan’s total income from holding Formula 1 races in Baku in 2016-2017 was $277.3 million, of this amount, $164.2 million accounted for direct income. One thousand business structures were engaged, a total of $22.7 million was received from the tourism, hotel and transport services," the head of Marketing and Communications Department of the Baku City Circuit said.
"A total number of hotel rooms in 3-4-5 star hotels in Baku is 9200. Another 6,554 hotel rooms are located near Baku City Circuit. Two months before the start of Grand Prix, all hotels are already booked. Among other things, we pay attention the formation of local management - at the First European Games we had 500 foreign specialists, at the Islamic Solidarity Games we had only 50 foreign specialists, but only three foreign experts participate in the preparation of Azerbaijani Grand Prix races," Nigar Arpadarai said.
"According to studies, many new tourists choosing new countries and new routes come to Azerbaijan. Formula 1 has significantly increased the flow of tourists to the republic, because the royal races are the most popular sports show in the world after the Olympic Games - up to 400 million people watch them. Our goal is to increase Baku's tourist importance through Formula 1 and find mechanisms to increase the length of stay in Azerbaijan during the races. Now the tourists who arrived at the Azerbaijani Grand Prix spend 3-4 days in the country, and we, applying new marketing strategies, strive to extend this period and attract Formula 1 fans to the regions," Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Azerbaijan Tourism Board Bahruz Asgarov said.
"Research shows that Formula 1 fans are the most solvent among all categories of sports fans. Therefore, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix is a great chance to encourage tourists to stay in our country longer. At the moment, we have a separate Formula 1 stand at all international exhibitions where we participate. We already have 12 media offices around the world, including in Germany, Saudi Arabia, India, China and Russia. Their goal is to inform about Azerbaijan's tourism potential," Bahruz Asgarov added.
Baku City Circuit's Commercial Director Bulent Ozerdim said that every year Azerbaijan Grand Prix ticket sales is increasing by 20-30%. "In 2017, the number of foreign fans doubled in comparison to 2016, while in 2018, the increase was 35%. In 2016, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was attended by people from 42 countries, in 2017 - from 65 countries, and in 2018 - from 78 countries. Now 60-70% of the tickets are sold, of which 78% are bought by foreigners. In the coming weeks, we expect an increase in sales due to purchases from regional countries. The top five are Russia, the UK, Georgia, Germany and the Netherlands," he said, adding that the Azerbaijan Grand Prix is insured for $100 million.