S'pore earning good rep

The imminent completion of the Singapore Sports Hub will provide an "excellent venue" for hosting events with an international reach, Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran said on Monday.

However, he also believes that the Republic has already established a burgeoning reputation as a hub for top-tier sports events.

Citing the examples of the Formula One SingTel Singapore Grand Prix and the arrival of tennis' season-ending WTA Championships next year, he said: "These are opportunities for Singapore to organise international- standard, world-class events.

"That serves not just a tourism objective but also a larger, positioning objective of how we're seen in the global sporting arena as desirable venue, and also as a place with a variety of compelling lifestyle opportunities.

"That's the context in which a lot of these projects are being undertaken."

With the Sports Hub linked with events like the Rugby World Cup Sevens and one-day cricket internationals, Adeel Najam, a manager at media analysts Venture Consulting, believes that this will likely have an impact on two fronts.

"Firstly, it will improve Singapore's brand image," he said. "With more events, people will find out more about the country.

"Secondly, it will definitely bring about an increase in tourism dollars."

Indeed, tourism is a big part of why the Singapore Government entered into a new five-year partnership with Formula One Management last year.

According to the Singapore Tourism Board, the first four F1 races - from 2008 to 2011 - generated over $560 million in incremental tourism receipts.

That said, it is not all about dollars and cents. Mr Iswaran, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, stressed: "What makes our race different is a very strong involvement from Singaporeans from different walks of life.

"We've always emphasised that this race is not just about a motor-sports event; it's also a platform to reach out to the broader community."

On Monday, he joined 16 students on a guided tour of the Marina Bay Street Circuit. It was the latest event in race organiser Singapore GP's "Rev Up Singapore!" initiative, aimed at bringing F1 closer to the public.

The students from Woodlands Secondary and Montfort Secondary made pit stops at Turn One, the Village Stage, garages, the podium and the race control room.

"I never expected it to be such a massive operation," said Nur Syazana Syamsuddin, a Secondary 3 student from Woodlands Secondary. "This was a real eye-opener for me."


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