SportFormula 1

PM Eyes Hosting Formula One in Bangkok To Promote Tourism

Thailand is vying to host a Formula One race, with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin proposing Bangkok as the ideal venue for a street race to bolster its reputation as a key tourism destination.

Prime Minister Srettha, whose government prioritizes entertainment and sports to attract affluent tourists, discussed Thailand’s capacity to host the race with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali during a meeting on Monday.

F1 executives visited Bangkok to explore and assess potential race routes at the government’s request, as Mr. Srettha stated in a post on X.

This visit followed a meeting in Paris last month between the leader and Mr. Domenicali, where they discussed the potential for Thailand to host a street race, according to Rudklao Suwankiri, a deputy spokeswoman for the government.

This year, eight of the 24 races in the F1 schedule are set on street or hybrid circuits, marking a significant increase from about 15% a decade ago.

These races occur on public roads temporarily converted into racing tracks, where advanced race cars reach speeds exceeding 200 miles per hour.

In Southeast Asia, the F1 race takes place on Singapore’s Marina Bay Street Circuit, which has attracted over 550,000 international visitors and generated approximately S$2 billion in tourism revenue since 2008.

Mr. Srettha aims to transform Thailand from a tourism hub into a center for aviation and logistics, leveraging quick gains to bolster the economy.

His strategies include extending tourists’ stays through promotions and enhancing the appeal of year-round festivals, as well as proposing Thailand as a host for the Formula E and MotoGP events.

Should Thailand secure the F1 race by 2027, it could generate an economic impact of around 4 billion baht and create over 1,000 jobs, according to Jakkaphon Tangsutthitham, deputy secretary-general to the premier.

Tourism significantly contributes to Thailand’s economy, providing about 20% of total jobs and constituting roughly 12% of its $500 billion GDP.

The government’s strategy to attract 80 million tourists by 2027 includes a reciprocal visa waiver with China and temporary visa waivers for visitors from India, Taiwan, and Kazakhstan.

This year, Thailand aims to attract 35 to 40 million international tourists, approaching the pre-pandemic peak of 40 million in 2019.

Additionally, plans are being considered to introduce casinos within large entertainment complexes and promote event-driven tourism to further increase revenue.