Singapore still interested in hosting Formula One race

A view of the illuminated street circuit of the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix. Pic: Reuters

LAST year, Singapore welcomed a record number of visitors with arrivals rising 7.7 percent from the year before to 16.4 million.

Tourism spending also rose to an all-time high of S$24.8 billion (US$17.5 billion), the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said.

Despite the meteoric rise, numbers are projected to dip in 2017 as global economic and political uncertainties loom and competition from neighboring countries increase.

SEE ALSO: Singapore welcomed record number of visitors in 2016

Meanwhile, the STB said that discussions about Singapore hosting the Singapore Grand Prix were still ongoing despite speculation that the race will be discontinued in the island city.

Lionel Yeo, chief executive officer at Singapore Tourism Board, told Bloomberg, “I think the event is still a good one and I think it’s something we’re interested to look at provided the terms and conditions are right. The discussions are still ongoing.”

In November last year, it was reported that the Singapore government, which funds 60 percent of the US$105.13 million race, was weighing the economic sense in continuing to host the race.

Analysts say the city state is weighing the costs and benefits of staging the event in the future. Neighbor Malaysia too pulled out from hosting the race due to mounting costs that outweigh the returns.

SEE ALSO: Malaysia will stop hosting Formula One race, but the (tourism) show must go on

The Singapore race is one of the most popular, taking place at night on a street circuit with spectators entertained by music acts such as Beyoncé and Justin Bieber, while TV watchers get a bird’s-eye view of the glitzy skyline.

As a top wealth management hub, the city state is a natural draw for the region’s affluent people, a key target of Formula One sponsors such as Hugo Boss and Tag Heuer, a luxury LVMH brand.