Did you know Singapore hosted Grand Prix race in 1965 at Thomson Road? It continued until 1973 when it all ceased due to various reasons like unsuitability of the track for racing, inconvenience of road closures for the event and fatal accidents during the 1972 and 1973 races.
Then there was a turn of tides in 2005, when our FOUNDING father Mr. Lee Kuan Yew remarked (published in the Sunday Times) he regretted not having built a Formula One racing course as he believed that F1 would bring much global awareness and commercial benefits to Singapore.
In 2008, Singapore Tourism Board successfully bid the right to host not just another Grand Prix but it was THE FIRST night-time event in Formula One history. This first race was held at the new Marina Bay Street and this Circuit was the 15th round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship. The timing of the night event could not be any better as it was broadcast live at a convenient time for European TV audiences. Singapore gained maximum international exposure.
This inaugural 2008 FORMULA 1TM SingTel Singapore Grand Prix attracted about 100,000 spectators and generate incremental tourism receipts of about S$100 million.
It would not have been an easy feat for STB to put up the bid if the Singapore government and its many agencies did not worked very hard in the past 3 decades to build the brand “Singapore”. Let’s see how Singapore’s economic success and political stability have worked a great deal as good PR for Singapore to get noticed by the world:-
- upgrade to higher-technological industries in 1980s and progress to a First World country
- One of safest nation and least corrupt countries in the world
- Geographical advantage as an important and largest transportation hub in Southeast Asia.
- Singapore has a tropical rainforest climate which means stable and uniform temperature and pressure throughout the year.
- Singapore Changi Airportis one of the world’s busiest airports by international passenger and cargo traffic and also rated as world’s Best Airport since 2013 by Skytrax
- Singapore Airlines, formed in 1981, is the world’s most awarded airline
- ThePort of Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports with numerous awards and accolades by international marine societies and institutes.
- Singapore has a lively urban musical scene that makes it a centre for international performances and festivals in the region.
- Singapore is one of the best location to visit for food because of its diversity of cuisine and excellent combination of convenience, variety, quality and price that is found from hawker centres and food courts to Michelin-starred fine dining restaurants with international celebrity chefs
- Singapore has the world’s highest percentage of millionaires, with one out of every six households having at least one million US dollars in disposable wealth
- Singapore Botanic Gardens, a 150-year-old tropical garden, is Singapore’s first UNESCOWorld Heritage Site.
In addition to the above, having a good spokesperson is good PR too. We have our own very own Mr Lee Kwan Yew then, and more importantly, we had a very strong supporter who is none other than the “F1 supremo” himself, Mr Bernie Ecclestone, former chief executive of the Formula One Group. For many years, he was persuading the F1 Group to look at Asia for new hosting sites for F1 race, and uniquely Singapore.
And after the inaugural event in 2008, the positive reactions and comments from the Presidents, Chairmen and leaders of the different race teams, sponsor companies, the F1 drivers to the fans, are nothing less than phenomenal and impressive to describe the immense preparation work and actual race day experience of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. These work well as PR too.