Despite protests, Formula One a big earner for Bahrain
Bahrain's Formula One has generated around $1.3 billion since it was first hosted in the country nine years ago, said a top official, adding that economic benefits also included the creation of 3,000 jobs during the race season.
The Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix has also initiated nearly 400 permanent jobs throughout the year, Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) chief executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa was quoted as saying by the Gulf Daily News, Trade Arabia's sister publication.
He was speaking during a presentation at the Capital Club in Bahrain Financial Harbour ahead of the race which kicks off on Friday at the BIC to run through April 21.
"More than 100,000 visitors, 15 per cent of those from Europe, have come to Bahrain every year and the hospitality and tourism sectors earn an average of $100 million to $150 million every year," he said.
"Hotels which partner with BIC also report full occupancy status during the Grand Prix and between 45 per cent and 50 per cent visitors use Gulf Air as their primary carrier."
Shaikh Salman revealed the projected media exposure value to sponsors during the F1 from this year until the 2016 season was $848.1 million.
"Around 17.2 per cent of all global media exposure generated in 2013 is for local brands," he added.
He also said more than 10,000 print media articles worldwide featured Bahrain last year.
"The value of Gulf Air's global media exposure in 2012 was $22.3 million as a direct result of the Grand Prix," he explained.
Figures compiled reveal the country has experienced a 52.9 per cent growth in tourism from 2004 until 2010, said Shaikh Salman.
"The Gulf's largest annual sporting and social event creates global awareness for Bahrain and Bahraini companies, blue chip companies, sponsors and investors," he said.
The event was sponsored by Batelco and attended by more than 80 of the region's top business leaders. Discussions focused on how Formula 1 aids national objectives, its positive economic impact and the benefits of global media exposure.