In the last 10 years the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has attracted a whopping 1.3million visitors. Just last year 135,000 people were in attendance filling the grand stands over the three days of the event. 60 percent of all tickets were purchased by non-residents of the UAE. The visitors spend an average of five days and spend more than AED7,500 per person.
Then there’s the hospitality. Ten years ago, Abu Dhabi just had 65 hotels and today it has 115 hotels. Hotel occupancy in Abu Dhabi was 83 per cent in November 2015 compared to 75.4 percent for the full year, according to a report Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority. In spite of the hotel rates being up by 20 – 30 percent, many hotels witness 100 percent occupancy during the race weekend.
Hosting the F1 is not cheap, however. According to Formula Money, Middle East businesses have generated $2.6bn for the Grand Prix since it was first hosted in Bahrain in 2004. Hosting fees comprise the largest portion of F1’s $1.8 billion annual revenue and last year came to a total of $608.3 million. Hosting fees come to an average of $30.4 million annually per country though Abu Dhabi is understood to be paying much more than that as it occupies a special place as the season-ender.
In this edition of Inside AB, Shayan Shakeel and Lubna Hamdan crunch the numbers to see what the F1 generates in money and prestige for the UAE capital.
(Source: Arabianbusiness.com YouTube channel)