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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Thailand - Buri Ram set for MotoGP bonanza

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A GOVERNMENT plan for Buri Ram to host MotoGP international motorcycle road racing has been eagerly welcomed by local residents and businesses alike – with almost Bt2 billion in revenue expected to be earned and some Bt500 million going to the northeastern province.

In financial terms, the big-bike event is expected to benefit not only Buri Ram but also neighbouring provinces such as Surin, Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said. 
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“We want to promote tourism in the Northeast, where there are fewer tourists than other regions. The Tourism Authority of Thailand sees that sport can be the answer in helping bring in tourism revenue,” she said.
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The Tourism and Sports Ministry estimated that the MotoGP event would attract around 110,000 spectators and bring in revenue of Bt1.89 billion, the minister said. The event would be broadcast to around 500 million viewers worldwide, more than any other racing sport event, she added.
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 Kobkarn said she expected the event to also benefit related businesses in Thailand, such as parts manufacturing and assembling of big bikes.
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Hotelier Wasan Thepnakorn, who is an adviser to the Association of Hotel Businesses in Buri Ram, said at least 100,000 motorsport fans from all over the world would flock to the province to watch the MotoGP competition.
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“I believe at least Bt400 million to Bt500 million will change hands during the racing period, with the money going to hotels, food shops and tourist destinations,” he said. “We thank the government and all the relevant sectors to make it possible for this world-class competition to be held in Thailand.”
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He added that the event was expected to help boost the local economy, particularly the tourism sector. The Cabinet last Tuesday approved a Bt300-million budget to cover licence fees for Thailand to host the MotoGP championship annually from 2018 to 2020. 
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The government will pay Bt100 million a year in licence fees to the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), the ruling body of the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix. Regarding organisation costs, the government is seeking support from the private sector, according to Kobkarn. 
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The Buriram United Interna-tional Circuit will be the venue for the first MotoGP in Thailand.
A source in the motorsport circles said that MotoGP was the most popular motorcycle-racing event, with a strong following worldwide.
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While the Thai private sector is capable of affording the MotoGP licence fees, a government role would help boost the event’s image, the source said. “With only a company playing host, the event would not be grand enough,” the source said.
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At present, there are 18 MotoGP venues around the world, with four of them in Asia and Oceania – Qatar, Japan, Malaysia and Australia. There is a plan by Dorna Sports, the MotoGP commercial rights-holder, to increase the venues to 20 by adding Finland and Thailand.
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Source - TheNation
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