Kerala to showcase tourism potential in Volvo Ocean Race

April 2nd, 2008 - 9:03 pm ICT by admin  

Thiruvananthapuram, April 2 (IANS) The Cochin port has been chosen as one of the stopovers for the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race and Kerala plans to showcase the state’s tourism potential to thousands of foreigners arriving to witness the race. A race village on 2.5 acres of land will be set up at Willingdon Island at Kochi. It would have 10,000 sq metres of covered space and 200,000 sq metres of open space.

Kerala tourism department and Cochin Port Trust (CPT) will spend a whopping Rs.300 million for the event’s arrangement that will take place between Dec 3 and Dec 13.

The Volvo Ocean Race, which is also called `Everest of Sailing’, is one of the world’s most demanding and daring team sporting events.

This edition will feature around nine teams, 11 ocean legs, seven inshore races and shorter stopovers, and Cochin port is the only destination chosen in India.

“This is the first time that any port in the country has been selected as a stopover for the world famous yacht race,” CPT chairman N. Ramachandran told reporters here Wednesday.

“The organizers have been in touch with us for the past two years to finalise this. In normal course, the organizers charge 10 million Euros as fees from the port, but we have been exempted,” he said.

Ramachandran justified spending Rs.300 million to organise the event.

“The money that we would spend will be got back by way of sponsorships. More than that, Kerala would be showcased to the thousands who would come to witness the event,” he said.

Kerala tourism is likely to be a big beneficiary as already the organisers have sought close to 1,500 high quality rooms and another 3,500 rooms for the people who would come from various parts of the globe to be with the race teams.

The race starts in Alicante, Spain, Oct 4 and will cover a total of 39,325 nautical miles over nine months and end in July 2009 at St. Petersburg, Russia.

The teams arrive at Cochin port from Capetown Dec 3 and leave for Singapore Dec 13.

The other stopover ports include Singapore, Qingdao, Rio de Janeiro, Boston, Galway, Gothenborg and Stockholm.

“The biggest advantage for Kerala is that its culture and cuisine would be showcased to the world through this event,” Kerala tourism secretary V. Venu said.

The arrival of race teams at Cochin port coincides with peak tourism season in Kerala.

The organizers of the event have already held talks with the houseboat owners to station around 150 houseboats near the race village to provide extra rooms for the people.

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