(Bloomberg) -- Singapore will host the Formula One Grand Prix race later in 2022 after a two-year gap, as the city-state seeks to re-position itself as a prime business and tourist destination in Asia while pivoting toward a strategy of living with Covid-19.

The Southeast Asian nation had its contract renewed for another seven years until 2028, its longest extension yet, organizer Singapore GP Pte and the Singapore Tourism Board said in a joint statement Thursday. The next event is set to be held Sept. 30-Oct. 2, according to the Formula One website.

The return of the high-profile competition follows a slew of business and sporting events on the island since Singapore reopened its borders to vaccinated travelers from countries including the U.S., U.K. and France. Officials scrapped the race over the past two years due to pandemic restrictions and surging Covid-19 infections, and the F1 pit building was used temporarily to house coronavirus patients. 

The renewal of the event will “sustain Singapore’s reputation as a global city” and attract international visitors, Transport Minister S. Iswaran said in the statement. “Even as we deal with the immediate challenges of the pandemic, it is important that we focus on our recovery and long term growth.” 

Data from the tourism board shows that Singapore welcomed 330,000 visitors last year, compared to 19.1 million in 2019 before the pandemic hit.

Thursday’s announcement comes as Singapore’s economy solidifies its recovery from the pandemic-induced recession. Gross domestic product grew 7.2% last year, its fastest pace since 2010, after the trade-reliant economy contracted 5.4% in 2020 as Covid-19 closed borders and snarled commerce around the world.


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