Budapest » Fiscal Formula 1: Hotels Register 100,000 Guest Nights
Fiscal Formula 1: Hotels Register 100,000 Guest Nights
By Budapest Sun Staff
FORMULA 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone said after the recent Hungarian Grand Prix that "Hungaroring has a valid contract to stage Formula 1 races until 2011."
The statement brings relief to Hungary's racing fans as well as businesses that saw profitable times from this year's race.
Some 184,000 fans made their way to the race itself, and as many as 1.6 million Hungarians watched it on television.
Meeting with Ecclestone after the race, Mónika Lamperth, Hungary's Local Government and Regional Development Minister, presented him with a diploma "for bringing the race to Hungary and keeping it here."
Lamperth has, on various occasions, spoken of how the Hungarian Grand Prix, which started in 1986, has been a "key tourism event" for the country. However, one cash cow will not be present at next year at the Formula 1 race, that of cigarette advertising.
While Ecclestone confirmed the Hungaroring location until 2011, he also said cigarette ads would be eliminated, in line with the EU ban on advertising tobacco products.
This year such advertisements remained, as Hungaroring president László Palik described it, "under the fence" as allowed by a previous agreement.
István Kovács, the vice president of the Hotel Association of Hungary, told media that the occupancy rate for hotels in Budapest was 90% during this year's race, though adding that this was in part due to the race final coinciding with the final of the European Swimming Championships in Budapest that same weekend.
Indeed, according to Bela Pal, the deputy chairman of parliament's tourism and sport committee, these two events (the swimming championships alone were watched by more than one billion people in 50 countries) were worth "billions of forints" in advertising for Hungary, and were responsible for 100,000 guest nights in Budapest hotels.
The police also had a successful weekend, though at the expense of two Austrian men. In the past a successful business during the F1 weekend, prostitution has now been made illegal at the event.
Police arrested eight women on charges of prostitution in Mogyoród near the race track, and two Austrian men who were caught using hookers were also arrested and face fines of up to Ft50,000.
The Budapest Sun, August 17, 2006
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