Singapore looks to Esports to help reboot tourism

Stock photo via Wikimedia Commons

As Singapore slowly reopens to foreign travellers, the country is hoping that Esports might be a new way to attract more tourists back to the island. Singapore has invested heavily in both digital and physical infrastructure, and has become Southeast Asia’s primary hub for Esports viewing and revenue, according to Bloomberg.

Dr. Tan See Leng, Minister of Manpower and Second Minister for Trade and Industry in Singapore says he believes that Esports may be an avenue for the country to stimulate its economy following the Covid-19 pandemic. The Nation Thailand reports that the minister made these remarks after attending the OUE E-Cities Championship, an event held over the weekend on the island that featured a virtual race around Singapore’s Orchard Row.

The race included 25 competitors from 6 different countries, with the foreign athletes competing remotely. The prize money for the event was US$10,000. After the 15-lap virtual race, Indonesian competitors took home first and second place, and a 12 year old Singaporean clinched third. Dr. Tan says he was impressed he was by the event, and expressed his wish that the country could soon host the whole event in person.

“The way Orchard Road is transformed into a visually stimulating and adrenaline-pumping race is amazing and (shows) the spirit of creativity…in addition to simulated racing, it would be great if we could bring the racers here so that they can all come together when the easing of restrictions come about.”

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He also made some suggestions for future events, in which he hopes different parts of the island could be featured.

“Orchard Road is very iconic, but you can also consider a race up and down Mount Faber… with a nice view of both sides looking over Telok Blangah and the Greater Southern Waterfront…You could also try something in the north-east, in Sungei Buloh, have an ‘eco’ kind of thing and introduce a new part of a garden within the city.”

The co-founder of E-Cities Championship reported that the goal is to eventually have virtual races held in cities around Asia.

Esports are growing rapidly around the globe, but especially in Singapore. The nation hosted the Free Fire World Series 2021, an event with a US$2 million cash prize. Another competition will be hosted there next month, the Mobile Legends Bang Bang M3 World Championship, which features an US$800,000 grand prize.

SOURCES: The Nation Thailand|Bloomberg

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Luke Albers

Luke Albers is a writer from the United States. He graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelors degree in political science and a certificate in peace, conflict and security studies. He has lived and worked in Africa and India, and now calls Thailand home. Luke loves to use his writing to connect with new people and places.

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