THE Singapore Grand Prix seems to be gaining traction with visitors: The number of tourists to Singapore last month shot up 18.4 per cent compared with September last year.

The reason, say experts, is two- pronged: The Grand Prix and its supporting activities are gaining popularity, and the improved economic climate has encouraged more race-goers and holiday makers to make a trip here.

'The tourism market as a whole has improved, and the race and its peripheral activities such as F1 Rocks have also gained popularity with a broader audience,' said National Association of Travel Agents Singapore's chief executive Robert Khoo.

'More are viewing the Grand Prix as a festival and it is attracting more people, even those not that interested in racing.'

The 947,000 visitor arrivals set a record high for September, the 10th straight month-on-month record. However, in August, Singapore attracted more visitors - 996,000 - due in part to the Youth Olympic Games.

Releasing the monthly figures yesterday, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) attributed the year-on-year September increase in part to the three-day Grand Prix and 'the draw of many leisure and entertainment events' held at that time.

F1 boosts visitor arrivals