Turkey, again on the Formula 1 calendar this year – having first replaced Canada, then had that race withdrawn and now replaced Singapore – has given hope to the country’s tourism and accommodation sector. , as representatives now expect the event to bring in some 100 million euros in revenue (1.05 billion TL), offsetting some of the country’s previous tourism losses.
Hotels on the Anatolian side of Istanbul – where the races will be held – are expected to operate at 100% capacity while those on the European side are expected to have an occupancy rate of at least 50%.
Such a development is the result of a rapid and successful national vaccination campaign, which recently saw a significant drop in the number of new cases of COVID-19.
Istanbul was entered in April to replace the Canadian Grand Prix canceled in June, only to leave a few weeks later due to travel restrictions, with the majority of teams based in Great Britain.
Turkey is on the UK government’s “red list” of countries that require 10-day hotel quarantine for returning travelers.
However, organizers confirmed last Friday that they will make a second attempt to host the Turkish Grand Prix after adding it as a replacement for Singapore’s canceled race in October.
The night run from October 1-3 in Singapore was canceled earlier this month due to immigration restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vural Ak, chairman of the Istanbul Intercity circuit operator who brought F1 to Turkey last year after a nine-year hiatus, said nearly 4,000 racing teams will come to Turkey for the Grand Prix of Turkey, with nearly 450 large trucks and seven to eight large trucks. .
He added that the materials will be transported by jet cargo plane.
“We are expecting 15 to 16,000 foreign visitors. The tourists will stay in the neighboring hotels, and if you take into account their expenditure on food, drinks and purchases, they will have left our country an income in foreign currency of about 100 million euros, ”he said.
The event will be held in Istanbul Park from October 1-3. Many closed hotels in the metropolis should open their doors on this occasion. Teams are due to arrive 20 days before the race at their hotels located mainly in Tuzla and the Anatolian part of Istanbul, although tourism professionals say all Istanbul hotels will have their share during race week.
Müberra Eresin, President of the Turkish Hotel Association (TÜROB), said that “the cancellation of a very important event like Formula 1, which should lead to a revival in terms of the number of tourists and the positive perception, has was disappointing. But we hoped it would be held in Turkey again. In fact, it has happened. “
“Whether with or without an audience, it will boost morale in the sector,” she added.
“If there is an audience, it will additionally have a positive effect on hotel occupancy,” Eresin said, adding that it would also have a positive impact on the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions industry. (MICE) which organizes congresses, meetings, fairs and events “that we did not hope to relaunch before the end of the year”.
Hagia Sofia Mansions Curio Collections by Hilton General Manager Ahmet Arslan, meanwhile, said the return of racing to the country had boosted morale in the industry.
Describing F1 as one of the most prestigious competitions in the world, Arslan said: “This event makes a great contribution to hotels in every country. Because both the teams and the technical team go to the competition site about 20 days before the event. An average of 100 rooms are reserved for a team. Usually 5 star hotels are preferred. In addition, many global chains follow the competition. For example, the owner of a large company brings in the top 30 business partners and welcomes them to the best hotels, renting helicopters for the race. This profile spends on average 5,000 euros in three days.
Ibrahim Halil Korkmaz, CEO of MOLTON Hotels, echoed others in the industry, calling F1 an incredible motivator for the industry.
Explaining that the currently closed hotels will open during this period, Korkmaz said that “with the high number of vaccinations, we have started to see a movement in the tourism sector. Russian and German tourists have started to flock again. in the country”.
However, they mostly go to the coastal provinces, so organizations like this help hotels in metropolitan areas get their fair share of the business.