World-famous air, sea races may be staged here

In blog on October 18, 2007 at 8:17 am

Oct 18, 2007

World-famous air, sea races may be staged here

By David Boey

FIRST, it was the Formula One car race. Now, Singapore has set its sights on hosting two more crowd-pulling races – in the air and on the sea.

Talks to bring the Volvo Ocean Race, one of the world’s biggest for 70-foot racing yachts, to Singapore, are now in the final stretch, and a contract signing is expected next month.

There are also plans to bring the world-famous Red Bull Air Race – a speed racing event for sleek one-seater propeller aircraft – to the skies off East Coast Park or Marina South.

The races could spell a bonanza for Singapore’s economy from foreign spectators and give the country global visibility.

The Straits Times understands that a committee headed by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is looking at the air and yacht races, along with other mega events.

The director for cluster development (events and entertainment) at STB, Ms Lynette Pang, said the tourism authority ‘is always looking at opportunities to support significant events’ that pull in visitors and ‘help brand Singapore as a compelling destination and a leading entertainment capital in Asia’.

Efforts to make Singapore a port of call for the Volvo Ocean Race are at full sail.

The race’s press officer, Ms Lizzie Ward, said: ‘Negotiations with Singapore are in their final stages, and we expect to make a formal announcement within a month.’

Mr Ng Ser Miang, International Olympic Committee executive board member and former vice-president for the International Sailing Federation, said the event will help develop ‘strong interest” in sailing, especially among the young.

‘It’s a fantastic event. A tough race that has created a lot of excitement among sailors,” he added.

‘The Volvo Ocean Race generates massive media coverage throughout the 10-month duration of the event across TV, print press, Internet, radio and mobile platforms,” said Ms Ward.

Meanwhile, the air race’s Austria-based organiser, Red Bull Air Race GmbH, said Singapore could be considered for the 2009 circuit if it satisfies bidding criteria.

Ms Vera Dussausaye, the communication coordinator for the Red Bull Air Race, said: ‘The host city should be easily recognisable to the watching millions worldwide.’

She listed two other desired attributes – ‘physical infrastructure’ to stage such an event and its ‘thousands of spectators’; as well as ‘a suitable marketing and commercial set-up to ensure the success of the event financially’.

Host cities receive ‘substantial economic benefits’, she said, adding: ‘Thousands of additional people come to the area to watch.

‘Millions see the event on television around the world during the season and millions more are introduced to the venue online at’

Copyright © 2007 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved.

Source : Straits Times


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