Florida may never entice Hollywood or its “Oscar Night” to relocate, but for four glorious days this spring the Tampa Bay Area will host what may be an even bigger celebration on the world scene – Bollywood’s 15th anniversary of the International Indian Film Awards.
The first time IIFA will take place in the United States, it is India’s equivalent of Hollywood’s Oscar Awards. Previously, the event was held in Bangkok, Amsterdam, Toronto, Johannesburg and London.
Bollywood is what the Hindi-language film industry has been known by ever since its beginnings in Mumbai (Bombay). The Indian motion picture industry is said to be incredibly popular with its own big screen stars, and it has a loyal following throughout the world. Tickets are selling fast for the ceremony even though its actual date won’t be announced until late January.
For those few short days of Bollywood, Florida, Tampa will be awash in throngs of Indian women dressed in their traditional saris and men in their kurtas, an outfit that sports a long jacket over trousers. Of course, many Indian visitors will also be seen wearing western clothes as well. Because of the 30,000 to 40,000 people expected to attend, the event is scheduled to be held in Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium. It’s an open air facility, so the hosts are praying for no rain. But, since it’s to be held during Florida’s dry season, they should expect nothing but blue skies, cool nights and warm days.
The attending crowd is expected to swell to around 60,000 for additional events such as parties, concerts, workshops, exhibitions, celebrity appearances and many other related activities. It’s estimated that while over 20,000 Indian Americans live in the Tampa Bay Area, and over 100,000 reside throughout the state, the celebration will draw visitors from around the world to Tampa. Bollywood is said to be incredibly popular with its own big screen stars and loyal followings. Not only that, but the awards ceremony will be televised to more than 110 countries and reach an estimated 800 million viewers, many of them potential visitors to Florida, and most especially to Tampa.
According to a report from a local television station, the estimated economic impact from the multi-day event is around 24,000 room nights at area hotels, and an $11 million cash infusion.