TAMPA, Fla. - The International Indian Film Academy Awards have sold up to 20,000 tickets. But what organizers don't know is where many of those Bollywood guests are staying.
"We do these events because we want visitors to come into the destination and we want them to stay in hotel rooms. We won't be satisfied until we see those reservations pick up," said Santiago Corrada, president of Visit Tampa Bay.
With thousands from outside the area expected to travel here for the awards, some are asking, "Why aren't more rooms already booked?"
"I think our merchants and our hoteliers are all saying, 'Let's see what materializes.' Certainly it's good news that 20,000 tickets have already been sold for the event. So it signals that we're on the right track," said Bob Morrison, executive director of the Hillsborough County Hotel and Motel Association.
Privately, some hotels and their vendors are growing a little anxious with the big awards weekend just a few weeks away. But Morrison still feels positive.
"Right now, it's probably premature for us to be very concerned or have any concern at all," Morrison said.
Staff and other officials are already here and occupying hotel space downtown. Couple the awards weekend with an already high spring demand and, eventually, the rooms should fill up. And that's exactly what organizers are banking on.
"We're waiting like everyone else for the pick up on room nights by the fans that are coming to witness the event," Corrada said.