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Mice Asia Net : October 2008
news LEFT: North-East ground view. Courtesy of Singapore GP Pte Ltd. BELOW: Anderson Bridge. Courtesy of Singapore GP Pte Ltd. When considering Singapore for hosting a Grand Prix, Formula One was looking for many of the same attributes as any major international exhibition such as ITB Asia, being held in October at Suntec Singapore located between turns three and seven along Raffles Boulevard. Easy access to the track was imperative, and Singapore’s is a street circuit that requires blocking off roads around Marina Bay, which was predicted to cause traffic jams. By September 20 the final pieces of essential race infrastructure including concrete barriers and fencing spanning the entire circuit, 16 grandstands and six temporary pedestrian overhead bridges were assembled on-site. Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive of Singapore Tourism Board, Lim Neo Chian, who chairs the Formula One Working Committee, said: “With the circuit located in the heart of town, the needs of the various stakeholders, businesses and hotels in the area have also been considered.” Visitors and commuters to the area were strongly encouraged to use public transport to get to their destinations in the Marina Centre area. Pedestrians could access the Marina Centre area via the underground CityLink walkway. This made accommodation even more critical, with Singapore offering five, five-star hotels located trackside: Fairmont Singapore, Marina Mandarin Singapore, Pan Pacific Singapore, Swissotel The Stamford and The Fullerton Hotel Singapore. They offered a combined 3780 rooms for between SGD800-2000 per night on the Singapore Grand Prix’s hotel booking engine at www.singaporegp.sq, with most insisting on a minimum four- or 6 miceAsia.net five-night stay. These were sold out months in advance as were most of the rooms in the 27 other four- and five-star properties listed on the site. Major MICE events generate a fraction of the attention that a Formula One weekend brings, with lead-up activities taking over a city for close to a week. “The race experience [was] made complete with the many lifestyle offerings that we lined up with the Singapore GP Season,” Mr Chian said. Held over three weekends, the Singapore GP Season showcased various Formula One-themed activities, entertainment events and lifestyle festivals as well as shopping and dining promotions to get visitors and Singaporeans all revved up for the race. Singapore GP Season aimed to present visitors with a total race experience while boosting Singapore’s image as a vibrant event and entertainment capital in Asia that offers top-notch lifestyle experiences including the Singapore River Festival and “Formula One™ - The Great Design Race” at the National Museum showing the evolution of grand prix cars. However, one mainstay had to be replaced. “There [was] no Grand Prix Ball as the race [was] at night. However, there was a Presidents Challenge Charity Luncheon on Friday, September 26,” Mr Chen said. Some commentators believed there were a few first-year glitches before the chequered flag fell at the end of the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix, but the city proved that its immense MICE experience helped launch Formula One into the future.