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Economy / Business

Bollywood Oscars Event Gets Down to Business, First

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Amidst all the hoopla about "green carpets" and Bollywood film stars coming to Tampa for the Bollywood Oscars Saturday, a lot of behind-the-scenes action is taking place. A lot of business connections are being formed, as well.

India is the biggest customer for goods coming out of Tampa's port. That, says Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higgenbotham, is proof of the connections Tampa Bay has with the Indian subcontinent. He was part of a two-day Global Business Forum sponsored by the International Indian Film Academy, which is sponsoring Saturday's Bollywood Oscars at Raymond James Stadium.

Diane Farrell is acting president of the U.S-India Business Council.

"All of these discussions should begin with how do we create jobs in India, how do we create jobs in the United States, so we have all boats rise when the tide lifts," she said at the the forum.

The forum focused on creating economic partnerships between the world's two largest democracies, and help to bridge the divides between the two country's cultures, media - as well as entertainment.

After the forum, Gov. Rick Scott helped kick off the IIFA weekend.

"With all this area has to offer, it is no surprise the International Indian Film Academy chose Tampa Bay for their first gala in the United States," Scott said. "Florida’s turnaround and economic success are possible in part because of the tourism industry and events like this one."

The 15th annual International Indian Film Academy's (IIFA) Weekend previously, it has gone to cities such as London, Johannesburg, Toronto, Amsterdam and Bangkok. Supporters say previous IIFA weekends have generated some 24,000 hotel room nights and poured $18 million or more into the local economy.

IIFA’s organizers expect this event to generate $30 million immediate economic impact.