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Volvo Ocean Race stopover at Kochi

5 April, 2008

Come December 3, 2008, Kochi will welcome the Volvo Ocean Racers to its shores. The Volvo Ocean Race, dubbed the most prestigious and spectacular round the world marathon ocean yacht racing competition, will for the first time in its 35 year history stop over in India. And that too at Kochi. Aiming to showcase India and Kerala as a hot vacation spot, the Cochin Port Trust (CPT) and the Kerala Tourism Department have joined hands and are all set to roll out the red carpet.

The Volvo Ocean Race will call on Kochi for a stopover of 10 days from December 3 to 13, 2008, before it sets sail to Singapore. The Volvo Ocean Race, which will begin its round-the-world marathon sailing in October 2008 and cover more than 39,000 nautical miles, visiting 11 ports across the world would set sail from Alicante in Spain. It would stop over at Cape Town, Kochi, Qingdao in China, Rio de Janeiro, Boston, Galway, Goteborg and Stockholm, before reaching the finishing line at St.Petersburg, says the CPT. Seven teams drawn from different countries of the world like the US, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Holland, Sweden and Spain have already confirmed their participation in the Volvo Ocean Race. Two more are expected to join the line-up.

Kochi has already stepped on the gas to gear up for the Volvo Ocean Race. An amount upwards of Rs 30 crore would be spent on improving infrastructure facilities at the port city. Kerala Tourism and CPT will also start looking for sponsors who would put in money for the smooth hosting of the Kochi stopover of the race.

The Kerala hosts are planning mega events to showcase Kerala as a much sought-after destination. The arriving Race Yachts will be accorded a grand welcome in traditional Kerala style. And there would be several group activities involving school children; national days of countries represented by the countries featuring national food, entertainment, dance programs, weekend festivals, food festivals, boat shows, traditional boat races, stage shows and more.

It is expected that the racers, their families who accompany them in different vessels and business clients of the various corporate sponsors will get an opportunity to go around Kochi and other parts of Kerala during their 10-day stop over in the Kochi port city. More than just sport and glamour, the Kochi stopover is expected to serve as a platform for business networking too, considering that many of the sponsors would be having business meets on the sidelines.

The Volvo Ocean race is expected to provide global brand exposure through television, radio, newspapers, magazines as well as other media during the event.

Experts say that there would be enormous opportunities for brand exposure for India as well as Indian products and services in the international arena. A cumulative television audience for the event is estimated to be above 2 billion. The Volvo Ocean race is expected to elevate the image of Kochi and Kerala as a vibrant leisure and lifestyle destination.

Given that Kochi is the only Indian stopover port-of-call for the Volvo Ocean race that happens once in three years, a surge in tourism is expected in Kochi at the time.




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