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To some, the idea of NASCAR boosting tourism in the U.S. sounds ridiculous. But NASCAR and Formula One are different, and there are many views on the strength of the sport's fan base.

Vietnam plans to host a Formula One race in 2020 in Hanoi as the government steps up efforts to boost tourism to be a major economic driver.

The April 2020 event will be a 5.565-kilometer street circuit, according to a statement issued by Formula One and sent by Vingroup. Vingroup JSC signed a multi-year deal to host the Grand Prix, said the statement.

Vietnamese officials want to lure more overseas visitors to reduce the nation’s reliance on exports to power growth. Tourists are forecast to increase 30 percent to as many as 16 million in 2018, and the industry is expected to account for 8 percent of gross domestic product this year and 10 percent by 2020.

Vingroup is forming a new unit, Vietnam Grand Prix Co. with registered capital of 1 trillion dong ($42.9 million), to host the event, Tri Thuc Tre news website reported, citing information from the Hanoi People’s Committee. The unit will be a subsidiary of Vingroup’s auto manufacturing group, VinFast, the news website said.

“Vingroup wants to bring this race to Vietnam because of the general benefits to the society such as more jobs will be created, the infrastructure of Hanoi will be upgraded, and other bigger worldwide events will be encouraged to take place in Vietnam,” Vingroup Chief Executive and Vice Chairman Nguyen Viet Quang said in the statement.

Singapore, which draws millions of television viewers around the world for the F1 Grand Prix, extended its contract for the event to 2021 last year. Malaysia, though, decided to stop hosting the race because attendance has dropped and it wasn’t recouping costs.

The city plans the race to be near its convention center, Thanh Nien newspaper reported. The government expects funding for the event, estimated to cost as much as $200 million, to come from private companies, the newspaper said.

The race “provides an opportunity for inward investment to Vietnam,” People’s Committee Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung said in the statement.

In other efforts to boost tourism, Vietnam now allows for online visa applications and waives visas entirely for some countries. The government created a tourism development fund to assist travel companies with marketing and staff training while investing in roads, bridges and airport expansions.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen and Nguyen Kieu Giang from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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Tags: formula one, vietnam

Photo Credit: Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas (R) and Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton steer their cars during the Formula One Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom circuit in Sochi on September 30, 2018. ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP / Bloomberg

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