By Juhan Samuel
Kochi, Jan.16 : Kerala's major port city Kochi is all set to host the Volvo Ocean Race, the world's premier offshore marathon ocean race, during the first half of December this year.
Kerala Tourism Department, Cochin Port Trust and the Volvo organizers will sign the final agreement to host the world premier Volvo Ocean Race on Friday (January 18) here at Bolgatty Palace.
The event will make the city a stopover on the new race route through the Middle East and Asia.
In April '07, race organisers had signed a Letter of Intent with Kochi, as part of an agreement to host the world's premier offshore ocean marathon in India.
N. Ramachandran, the Chairman of the Cochin Port Trust (CPT), said that the port along with Kerala Tourism would be giving its full backing for the stopover by providing all required facilities to the organisers.
Ramachandran added that the race would not only benefit, the Port but the entire tourism sector of Kerala.
The port will provide of berthing facilities by developing a special berthing village and grant all kinds of marine support and assistance during the race.
Around 10 teams with hundreds of accompanying boats and yachts will be berthed at the BTP jetty for over 10 days. After Kochi they will head towards Singapore, said Jijo Thomas, the Cochin Port Trust's Public Relation Officer.
The race will help in popularising Kerala as a major tourist destination on the world map. It will also be a big boost to the cruise tourism sector in the country.