Panaji: Ahead of the country’s biggest endurance sport race, the IRONMAN 70.3 India, which is scheduled to be held in Goa on October 8, tourism and travel industry stakeholders in the state have backed the hosting of established adventure and endurance sports fixtures, because of the economic spillover they trigger benefitting tourism-related businesses across the board.
According to the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), major events like the IRONMAN 70.3 India, ring the cash registers of a range of businesses, including airlines, hotels, restaurants, cafes and local transportation in Goa.
“To begin with, the airline business profits from increased flight ticket sales. Then they (participants, enthusiasts) need transportation to get from one location to another. Hotels in Goa are booked for their stay. In addition, Goa has become India’s gourmet capital, so people are always looking to enhance their travel experience by identifying which places to go to and what to try out, to get the experience they’re looking for while on the visit to Goa. This is how events like IRONMAN 70.3 India will benefit Goa’s tourism sector overall,” according to Nilesh Shah, president of the TTAG.
Shah also said that IRONMAN is a global brand, which attracts participation from athletes as well as aspiring athletes, including those from the corporate sector and presents a great opportunity to project Brand Goa in an appreciative light.
“Senior executives from big corporations want to participate in it. Individuals are coming in from almost every major country for this international event. It shows Goa as a brand in a better light to host such an event. Definitely, whenever such events are hosted, it helps all verticals in the industry economically, right from hotels to restaurants to transportation. Every vertical in the tourism industry gets a piece of the cake,” he said, adding that the potential of such global events to attract an international audience too “provides Goa with a higher brand value in the world market”.
Athletes from across India and 30 other countries have registered to participate in the IRONMAN 70.3 India, which is considered among the country’s biggest endurance event, involving three sports disciplines namely swimming, cycling and running. The event has seen participation from endurance athletes from the UK, US, Germany as well as other far flung countries like Estonia and Bolivia.
According to Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) – Goa chapter’s Tourism Committee head, Carlos de Sousa, hosting events like the IRONMAN 70.3 India, results in two-fold benefits for the state, short-term and long-term.
“As far as short-term benefit is concerned, it attracts a large participant base and following and yes, businesses will be doing well during the period of the event. However, for a destination like Goa, that is so keen on tying up with more sports tourism-related events, it presents a long-term branding opportunity,” de Sousa said.
States like Odisha and Rajasthan, he said, were growing in stature when it comes to hosting such international events and Goa, which has recently hosted two IRONMAN 70.3 races, marathons and other endurance sport events was also making headway.
“The country itself is slowly developing with multiple facilities coming up in Odisha, Rajasthan and now Goa, which have begun to host international events or tournaments. And I think this is only going to accelerate in the coming years. With our airport infrastructure improving around the country to welcome more visitors, the scene is set for the growth of sports tourism in India,” de Sousa said.
Avinash Singh Parmar, co-founder of the Verda Group of Hotels, who organised the Rotary Rain Run in Goa in July this year, said that such events would help establish Goa as a global sports-friendly destination.
“IRONMAN 70.3 India participants are from across the world and when they come to our state, it definitely helps with the wonderful branding of Goa as a sports friendly destination. Our roads and everything is beautiful and it does help the tourism industry, it helps the sports industry along with other industries,” Parmar said.