By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
The inaugural event at the Chang International Circuit, Buri Ram proved to be a great success in terms of both competition and tourism. Last October’s three-day extravagant attracted a crowd of 222,535 and ended up being the highest number of all 19 MotoGP events last year.
It was also named the best MotoGP of the year by International Road-Racing Teams Association (IRTA) and Dorna Sports. It instantly became far and away the country’s biggest sporting event. This year’s follow-up seems sure to eclipse it - organisers revealed last night that all 10,000 Grandstand seats had already sold out, even though the event, from October 4 to 6, is still seven months away.
According to the poll conducted by the Tourism and Sports Ministry, foreigners accounted for 20 per cent of all the fans and the event generated about Bt 3.1 billion for the country. It also boosted the local economy in Buriram and its neighbouring provinces.
Vice Minister attached to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports Worawit Techasupakura
“Apart from underlining Thailand as a global sports hub, the event was instrumental in implementing the national sport development plan and laying the foundations for the growth of sports tourism,” said Vice Minister attached to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports Worawit Techasupakura.
“The event will promote tourism in the country and boost sports-related industries, including motorsports.”
One of the highlights in Buriram was the introduction of Shuttle Tan, the local E-Tan truck, which provided a unique shuttle service within the complex and drew praise from the international media and foreign fans.
According to Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) governor Kongsak Yodmanee, the 2018 MotoGP Thailand was broadcast to 207 countries, with total viewership of more than 800 million, while the event itself was covered at the venue by journalists from 435 news agencies in 33 countries.
SAT governor Kongsak Yodmanee
Hosting the MotoGP will benefit local riders, who will receive an opportunity to improve their skills. Last year, there were five Thai representatives in three classes – one in Moto2, three in Moto3 and one in MotoE. This year, Somkiat “Kong” Chandra from Idemitsu Honda Team Asia will represent Thailand in Moto2.
“With its huge success last year, the 2019 PTT Thailand Grand Prix is expected to attract more fans, both Thais and foreigners. This will help generate more income for the country,” Kongsak said.
Buriram governor Teerawat Wutthikhun said this year more tent spaces would be provided while hotels in neighbouring provinces, including Surin, Nakhon Ratchasima and Khon Kaen, have agreed to make available more rooms for those attending the event.
Tanaisiri Charnwittayarom, managing director of the Buriram United International Circuit, said that the race would be more competitive this year because many riders had joined new teams. Additionally, the companies backing them would be making full use of advanced technology to maximise the potential of their motorbikes.
“As hosts, we are sure to better serve our visitors this year. There will be more entertainment activities including muay thai, concerts and souvenir shops. It will be much bigger than last year,” said Tanaisiri.
Tickets for this year’s event are already available – three-day passes are priced at Bt4,000 for the Grand, Rossi and Marquez stands, and Bt2,000 for the Side stand.
Tickets can be bought at 7-Eleven outlets and at more than 13,000 shops across the country carrying with Counterservices logo. You can also buy online at www.alltickets.com.
For the PTT clients, they will get a 25 percent discount by showing their PTT Blue Cards at the sale point or through www.allticket.com. Meanwhile, Chang will give a 20 percent discount to the customers who hold a Chang International Circuit Friend Club. By showing a Honda motorcycle key for any model, the customers will receive a 20 percent discount while Yamaha also gives a 20 percent discount for its customers with a Yamaha motorcycle key for any model. SCB customers who purchase tickets with a SCB credit card through www.allticket.com are going to get a 20 percent discount.