Sebastian Vettel has made it five wins from six Grands Prix this season by taking his first chequered flag in Monaco, beating Fernando Alonzo and Jenson Button.
The German gambled by staying out on the same set of soft tires. The gamble looked doomed to backfire until a crash on lap 72 resulted in a red flag that suspended the session just as he was close to being caught.
When the race resumed Vettel had changed his tires during the suspension.
“I saw the only chance to win this race was to try and stay out. I was nearly 20 laps under pressure with Fernando and Jenson behind, it was getting closer and closer,” Vettel said.
Alonso’s second place is the best performance of the season for the two-time former F1 champion, although Ferrari must be wondering what might have been, while Button will be exasperated at coming so close to winning again in Monaco.
Seven-time former champion Michael Schumacher, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, and Vitaly Petrov — whose Renault was involved in the late crash that halted the race — were among those who failed to finish.
Sport tourism - integral to the Monaco brand
The race also highlighted the power of sport as an integral part of the principality’s tourism strategy.
This weekend, thousands of visitors flocked to Monaco to witness the country’s top motor sport event, the Monaco Formula 1, which is held each year on the Circuit de Monaco. The country is only about two squared kilometres in area, but still boasts a population of over 30,000 people, making it the most populated country in the world.
The Principality of Monaco, with its idyllic Côte d’Azur location, has a rich sporting and cultural legacy – from the F1 Grand Prix and Tennis Masters to Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo and the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic and Opera companies.
The F1 Grand Prix marks an ideal opportunity to showcase Monaco to a global audience, as Monaco was transformed into a racing hub with a sleek 2.075 km circuit, racing around the narrow, winding streets of Monte Carlo and La Condamine, leaving little room for driving error. One of the most notable features of the course includes the tunnel.
Celebrities stayed in local hotels for the event such as the Hotel de Paris, the Columbus and the Grand, whilst hotels in nearby Nice also reap the benefits.
As a sector, tourism contributes billions of dollars to Monaco’s total GDP and creates thousands of jobs.
The International Tourism Trade Fairs Association (ITTFA) recently highlighted the importance of sports tourism specifically, examining how it has grown from niche market to multi-billion dollar business.
The UNWTO also actively positions sport and mega-events in national tourism development strategies in order to maximize their potential as a driver of growth and development.
“Sport and tourism bring people together in many unimaginable ways and can play a major part as instruments of change,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
Other important sporting events that have been held in Monaco include football, boxing, the Monte Carlo Rally, Monte Carlo Open and the International Marathon.
Different sports attract fanatical support, both at the event and from spectators back home, and there are both economical and social benefits on a national and regional level from hosting sports events, including the revenue generated from the visiting sportsmen and women, their support teams and their supporters.
Not only are there the direct benefits of the money spent to provide these events and the money spent those participating, but there are the indirect benefits of increased employment in providing the services, new and improved infrastructure, accommodation, amenities and the growth and development that continues as a result of such events.
Sport Tourism – a booming industry
Sport Tourism is travel industry’s fastest growing sector, and contributed an astonishing 14 percent of overall travel and tourism receipts in 2010, according to WSDE Sport Tourism Expo, the only global exhibition and business forum dedicated to showcasing the full spectrum of Sport Tourism related products and services.
At a time when some traditional tourism trends are in decline, Sport Tourism continues to flourish and is set to grow exponentially in the next decade.
(WSDE Sport Tourism Expo - the ultimate forum for everything sport tourism)
Yet the complex mechanics of Sport Tourism have not yet been fully understood or realised. The annual WSDE Sport Tourism Expo aims to present the future business deals and source new contacts and markets, but also to gain invaluable insights from the advanced knowledge of market leaders.
Now in its second year, WDSE Sport Tourism Expo will take place in Bangkok, Thailand - Asia’s Sport Tourism Gateway - from 27-29 September 2011. FInd out about Bangkok at www.bangkok.mobi
To find out more visit www.sporttourismexpo.com
Also in Monte Carlo, City.Mobi is celebrating the success of its new guide to the glamorous principality.
Monaco.City.Mobi is the latest in this illustrious line up, offering click to call functionality – which means no scribbling down telephone numbers.
City.Mobi offers the most comprehensive mobile travel guides available, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed. Each is developed by the City.Mobi team to combine into a single global travel directory.
Most entries are also linked to websites where users can quickly access more detailed information if needed.
Other key features include information on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, nightlife, shopping, and transport.
City.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.