ST. GEORGE — Formula One racing is revving up in Las Vegas this weekend for the first time since 1982, but Southern Utah tourism officials say it’s not necessarily translating into a speed-up for local hotels. 

Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari Formula One car races through the streets of Las Vegas, Nevada, below the Sphere arena during a practice round of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, Nov. 16, 2023 | Photo courtesy of Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, St. George News

But the tarmac at St. George Regional Airport is seeing a lot of burning rubber from private planes. 

Mostly a European racing circuit that rarely takes place in the United States, F1 has taken over a portion of the Las Vegas Strip two miles to the south.

With tickets for the race, which takes place on Saturday night, averaging between $500 to $1,500, and Vegas room rates following suit price-wise, there was some curiosity going into the event whether there would be some tourism bleed-off two hours north in St. George.

But Brittany McMichael, director of the Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office, told St. George News those engines don’t appear to be starting. 

“I did reach out to some of our lodging partners and they aren’t seeing many, if any, reservations due to FI,” McMichael said. 

File photo for illustrative purposes only of private planes parked at the St,. George Regional Airport, St. George, Utah, Sept. 8, 2023 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

But rather than the hotels on Bluff Street, there is a place where the Formula One race has made a definitive impact locally: St. George Regional Airport.

Where a typical day might see a half-dozen arrivals of private jets to the local airports alongside the usual SkyWest, United, Delta and American flights, there have been at least 25 private and contracted jet arrivals at the St. George airport since Thursday morning as of 3 p.m. Friday, according to FlightRadar24. Many of the flights arriving from Las Vegas area airports.

“I have heard that the airport was very busy with arrivals of private jets,” McMichael said. 

McMichael added that her sources said there are still several lodging options remaining in Las Vegas.

“I imagine most folks will be staying in the Las Vegas region,” she said.

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