Friday, February 7, 2014

Tampa: ‘A Destination for the World’

Some very exciting news is making headlines across the country; the 15th Annual International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards are to take place in Tampa this April. This is the first time in history that the international showcase event will be held in the United States, and it is a great honor for Tampa to be selected as the host. Bollywood superstars, Priyanka Chopra and Anil Kapoor, made a visit to the University of South Florida in January during their Tampa visit and were greeted by hundreds of fanatical students.  

When Janak Vora, an IIFA representative, was asked in a Tampa Bay Times interview why the Tampa Bay area was selected, she replied, ‘It’s about the enthusiasm of the community.’ Preparation and training is already underway throughout Tampa’s hospitality industry to raise cultural awareness in order to make our guests feel the most welcome. The Hillsborough County Tourist Development Council also decided to commit $900,000 to support the event, along with another $100,000 from the Hillsborough County Commission for promotion.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham spoke in a video interview with the Tampa Bay Business Journal regarding the privilege it is to be selected as the host of the awards, and wishes others could have seen the jealousy of New York and Los Angeles as Tampa was selected. He continued to say how locals often forget the benefits that Tampa offers, but the organizers of the IIFA were able to see the greatness that this city holds. Bollywood directors are even working on a film that portrays the positive educational benefits and experiences of international students that move to Tampa, FL. As Mr. Higginbotham put it so nicely, ‘Tampa is becoming a destination for the world.’