Kochi to host Volvo Ocean Race stop-overJuly 11th, 2008 - 2:32 pm ICT by IANS
Mumbai July 11 (IANS) Kerala’s Kochi port, whose docks are well known for Chinese fishing nets, is going to be a stop-over for one of the most prestigious water sports race - the arduous 39,000 nautical miles Volvo Ocean Race, officials said. Unlike other races, the prize here is the thrill of finishing the voyage on the rough high seas.
Hectic renovation work is on at Kochi to host the stop-over scheduled for Dec 3-13. The event, which is expected to catch about two billion eyeballs world-over, is being jointly hosted by the Cochin Port Trust (CPT) and Kerala Tourism Department (KTD).
Vasudevan Venu, KTD principal secretary, told reporters here Thursday that the tourism department is “planning to moor off over 70 houseboats having 100 to 125 rooms, from Alleppey at Bolgatty Island”.
“In fact, we are going to convert the island into a houseboat village and even host the traditional snake boat race. So far, nine teams have already confirmed their participation in the race and the confirmation of one more team is expected any time,” he added.
“It is for the first time in 35 years that the Volvo Ocean Race, which traverses seven seas, has decided to touch Indian shores. Earlier, they used to skirt it and go towards Australia or Japan but this time they wanted a stop-over at an Indian port,” Venu said.
Asked how much revenue was expected from the event, Venu said the department was focusing on long-term impact of the games.
“The number of participants and spectators is outnumbered by the media persons covering the event. During the last race, estimates are that two billion people followed the race,” he added.
CPT chairman N. Ramachandran said that since several industrialists will be present at the event, “it will also become a place for networking. Moreover, apart from sports journalists, reporters from lifestyle and glamour magazines will also be present”.
On the issue of royalty to the organisers and expenditure, Ramachandran said the organisers of the race had not asked for it. “They needed us because of the geographical location of the port and facilities it offered. As for the upgradation costs, the money is going to be raised through sponsorship.”
Ramchandran also said that daily activities on the port would not be affected by the event as the stop-over and events would take place in a different channel of the port.
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