Japan F1 host hopes calendar shift, weak yen will boost foreign fans

Japan F1 host hopes calendar shift, weak yen will boost foreign fans

The sponsor of this week’s Chinese Grand Prix hopes that a calendar change and a low cost of living will attract more foreign visitors to an event that has typically attracted generally domestic fans.

The Formula One race has been moved from its usual fall gambling, during the typhoon season when heavy rains have marred the scene in the past, to Apr 5 to 7, coinciding with the top of Japan’s globe- renowned cherry grow, or” sakura”, rose.

Following stringent travel restrictions imposed during the COVID- 19 pandemic, Japan’s yen, which is now at multi-decade lows against the US buck, is also causing a rise in tourists.

The Suzuka track race, which drivers are familiar for its specialized twists and high-speed straights, attracted the biggest crowd in nearly 20 years next year, partially offset by a rebound in foreign visitors.

We hope that the number of foreign fans will be the same as or even higher than last year, according to Eijiro Oda, general manager of Honda Mobilityland’s Suzuka Circuit.

An estimated 40, 000 tickets were sold to foreign visitors last month, a four- slide jump since the years quickly before the pandemic, according to Honda Mobilityland.

In order to market the competition abroad, the loop has for the first time begun posting American- language content on social media: Offering tips for travel and sightseeing.

Masumi Watabi, 49, who runs a restaurant in front of the Shiroko station, where F1 fans typically take shuttle buses to the circuit, said he hopes the growth in foreign fans can continue.

” Last year, we had an explosive growth in customers from abroad in my restaurant. This year… we hope that many overseas visitors will come in the spring when Japan is at its most beautiful”, he said.

On Sunday’s ( Apr 7 ) race day last year, 80 per cent of customers were foreigners, he added.

Russian Aleksandr Kriukov, 42, is one such overseas F1 fan heading to Suzuka this year.

” I want to see sakura ( cherry blossoms )… and I want to see Suzuka. It’s a very good time for me. Spring is the best time”, he said at a F1 fan festival event in Tokyo.