Kochi, Jan 19: Kochi port in Kerala has been confirmed as the second stopover for the Yachting Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09. It is for the first time that India would be hosting such a prestigious sailing event.
The Volvo Ocean Race is one of the world's most demanding and daring team sporting events, having seven yachts and featuring 11 ocean legs, including seven inshore races and shorter stopovers. The race is scheduled to start in Alicante, Spain in October 2008. It will cover a total of 39,325 nautical miles and touch 12 ports.
Besides Kochi, other stopover ports include Cape Town, Singapore, Qingdao,Rio de Janeiro, Boston, Galway, Goteborg and Stockholm before coming to an end at St. Petersburg, Russia, in July 2009. An MoU to the effect was signed by Volvo Ocean Race Director Andy Hindley and Cochin Port Trust Chairman N.
Ramachandran in the presence of Kerala Minister for Home, Vigilance and Tourism, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, here on Friday. “We are satisfied with the infrastructure we have found here. We need to build on learning and understanding process. We need not have actually come here if the infrastructure was not available," said Hindley.
Authorities expect that the event, to be staged in Kochi from December 3-10, would give a major boost to tourism in the state. "I am seeing Volvo Ocean Race as a great vehicle for Kerala tourism to reach across to a segment, which is our preferred segment and to whom we have not ever addressed in ad campaigns. The advantage which Kerala will get is not merely through number of people who will come to see the event, but it is the spin offs that the event will generate in terms of more of media interest and more operators organising packages," said V. Venu, state"s tourism secretary.