Herald: IFFI fails to match former glory

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IFFI fails to match former glory

01 Dec 2018 06:00am IST

Report by
VIKANT SAHAY

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01 Dec 2018 06:00am IST

Report by
VIKANT SAHAY

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The 49th International Film Festival of India saw lesser footfalls in the State and the business accruing to the hoteliers and other stakeholders saw a dip in their revenue. VIKANT SAHAY spoke to some stakeholders to find out the ground reality

Bollywood always waits for Friday’s box office collections and that defines the ‘success’ of a film these days. Goa waits for International Film Festival of India (IFFI) every year as it not only helps film buffs coming to the State but also revs up the economy of tourism ecosystem which primarily includes hoteliers and taxi operators. The catch is, as the film is driven by its actors, Goa IFFI is driven by politicians. Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is one of them who single handedly drove this event until last year. This year his absence was felt and it did lead to lesser footfalls and fervor in the 10-day festivity. 

Many of the stakeholders believe that Parrikar’s absence did lead to some lackadaisical attitude of the local IFFI managers. 

“This year IFFI appears to be subdued and does not seem to have the same punch as in the past. I am given to understand that the footfalls at the IFFI this year are less than the previous year. The ill health of our Chief Minister has cast a dark shadow over the enthusiasm of the IFFI organisers. Parrikar was the driving force of IFFI for the last several years. That driving force is absent this year,” the Immediate Past President of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), Francisco Braganca said. 

He further added that with major parts of India being in the election mode, domestic response is minimal. The inflow of international tourist into Goa is likely to improve his year. However, this is because of the fall of the rupee against major European currencies which has made a holiday to Goa cheaper and is nothing to do with IFFI. 

“Except for a few five star hotels in an around Panjim, IFFI has not given any boost to tourism overall in Goa. However, I cannot deny the fact that an event like IFFI helps in improving Goa’s image as an international tourist destination. It does help in the making of brand Goa which conjures images of fun and entertainment over and above its natural beauty,” added Braganca.

Hoteliers too are not very enamoured with IFFI this year as many of their rooms, even in Panjim were available as against previous years. 

“The business this year is down by at least 30-40 per cent as far as hotel bookings are concerned. The illness of our Chief Minister Parrikar has hit us and none of the politicians could take the stature of Parrikar, resulting in a not so enthusiastic effort from the local IFFI managers. Also the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG), committee and Government of India was not very well geared up,” said the President of Goa Hotels and Restaurant Association, Gaurish Dhond.

President of the Goa Chambers of Commerce and Industries, Sandip Bhandare believes that any event which is held in the State definitely helps Goa. He said that businesses related to film world like photography, studios etc can develop and the soft skills in the State can enhance with events like IFFI. Also, the tourism grows as it gives wide reach for Goa. 

“This time Israel was the theme country and it will surely help Goa to connect with Israel. Similarly, the State’s tourism department gets connected with not only international but national tourists,” said Bhandari.

When quizzed on how IFFI performed this year, Bhandari said, “Chief Minister Parrikar who has extra charisma always took a personal interest in such kind of events and was involved deeply into it, even to the lowest level. This led his subordinates to work harder. This year his absence was felt. Also there was no designated person who could micro manage the affair. This was missing this year and the absence of a political leader was surely felt in this event.”

TTAG president, Savio Messias is of the opinion that since Goa is a tourism destination, frequent event must take place in Goa. 

“In fact we should have big events in the State every month. Be it IFFI, food, wine, carnival, etc festivals must be highlighted to bring in more footfalls. The inventory of rooms we have must be used. The State government needs to aggressively promote festivals and events which can draw more people to the State. We must have big events happening in Goa every month to keep the business going,” said Messias.

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