The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is an annual extravaganza that focuses the attention of the world on Alappuzha. The spectacular boat race is the flagship event of the region. It is witnessed by more than 2 lakh people and attracts visitors and locals alike.
Each year, thousands of rowers and hundreds of boats from the surrounding villages come to compete for the honour of being the fastest boat in the race. Boat races are a traditional event in this region, and are conducted by boat race committees in the villages.
However, the Nehru Trophy Boat Race is so big that it is conducted by a society that includes the Chief Minister. The funding for the event comes from several sources.
“It is being funded by Kerala Tourism and to a small extent by Government of India’s Tourism department as well. Not only that, we raise lot of money through sponsorships and various other means like ticket sales," says Suhas S, District Collector, Alappuzha. "We do receive aid from the government. It is actually playing a big role."
The expenditure from the government, both in terms of money and effort, is considered a good investment. The return - keeping Alappuzha on the tourist map and attracting more visitors.
The numbers speak for themselves - in 2017 alone, more than 75,000 foreign and 4.3 lakh Indian tourists visited Alappuzha.
This drives an economy that includes the tourist facing sectors - hotels, restaurants, houseboats and souvenir makers. Indirectly, it also supports the people working in allied sectors.
The investment by the government in supporting and growing the local tradition of boat racing by conducting the Nehru Trophy Boat Race every year is a strategic activity with a clear eye on the return. An investment that makes sense both from an economic as well as a cultural point of view.
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