The Australian state government of Victoria "wants to revitalize the Australian F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne and make the race more cost efficient," according to Falko Schoklitsch of MOTORSPORT MAGAZIN. For fans and teams, the Australian Grand Prix "is definitely one of the highlights of the season due to the relaxed and casual atmosphere in Down Under." However, the race "is a rather unpleasant item for the state government in regards to economics." The losses from F1 increase year after year. Therefore, the government "has presented plans to revitalize the grand prix." Details of how the revitalization should look "have not been revealed, but it is expected that they primarily consist of marketing initiatives." Not included in the plans are a "relocation of the race away from Albert Park, as well as a night race," which F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone would like to see. A government spokesperson said, "The government, together with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, is looking for ways to improve the marketing and promotion of the event around the globe." According to last year's annual report, the '12 edition of the race lost A$57M. Revenue of A$36M stood opposite expenditures of A$93M. The race's current contract with F1 expires in '15 (MOTORSPORT MAGAZIN, 1/22).
Events and Attractions
ManU has defended its ticket pricing policy ahead of this weekend's FA Cup fourth-round tie against Fulham at Old Trafford, according to Hampson & Hirst of the PA. The London club has complained to the FA after discovering that some ManU fans have been "able to purchase seats equivalent to those on offer to Fulham supporters" £5 ($8) cheaper. As is common practice for FA Cup games, the clubs had agreed to a standard price of £45 ($71) for home and away fans, but ManU members have been able to purchase them at a discounted rate of £40 ($63). ManU says that it is an offer available "only to members under a long-standing scheme and it should not have come as a surprise." A ManU spokesperson said: "A discount scheme has existed for members for around 20 years." The FA has received the complaint and is "understood to have written to United for a formal explanation" (PA, 1/22).
A "big jump in South Korean tourist arrivals in Laos is being attributed to the lure of new golf courses" in the ancient capital Luang Prabang and in the current capital Vientiane, according to the DPA. Korean investors have built and now manage several golf courses in the land-locked communist country, "where land and water are still abundant and labour is cheap." Additionally, golf course fees in Laos "are a fraction of what they are in South Korea, where the game is a national passion." Figures gathered by the Tourism Development Department revealed that the number of Korean tourists visiting Laos from January to September '12 was almost 40,000, "representing a 50% increase compared to the same period the previous year" (DPA, 1/21).