SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Big spenders in Singapore for the city state's first ever Formula One Grand Prix this weekend have boosted business for high-end social escort agencies by a fifth, a local paper reported Thursday.
"This is the best weekend this year," Prince Wong, owner of Singapore Escort Services, told The Straits Times newspaper.
Wong said he has received five bookings for the weekend -- including one for a local starlet at a fee of S$40,000 ($28,110) for six hours of work.
Wong, who said his clients are foreign bosses in the gas and banking industries, declined to reveal the identity of both client and escort.
Singapore is hosting the Formula One race in the hopes of boosting its tourism sector, although the enthusiasm has been partly dampened by the ongoing global financial turmoil.
The race will also be held at night for the first time.
The owner of The High Society Club agency expects business to be boosted by 75 per cent, while Singapore Model Escort is advertising on its website a 50 percent discounted "Singapore F1 GP Special offer," the Straits Times reported.
The newspaper said the escort's job is to smile, entertain the client and his friends by making small talk and sometimes show the client around Singapore.
The agencies said sexual services was not part of the deal but strictly between the escort and client to arrange, the Straits Times reported.
Prostitution is legal in Singapore but soliciting is not.
Agencies say their high-profile clients are picky about their escorts, asking for companions "from a good family background and at least a university degree," the Straits Times said.
"They want escorts who don't look, sound or dress like escorts. They want people to think, 'what a nice girlfriend he has'," it quoted an agency head as saying.
Reporting by Daryl Loo; Editing by David Fox