The third edition of ‘Paragliding Festival 2010' at Yelagiri will commence on Friday and go on till Sunday.

As many as 70 paragliding pilots, including 10 to 12 international pilots, have confirmed participation in the three-day fair being organised by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC), Yelagiri Adventure Sports Association (YASA) and Vellore district administration.

Briefing reporters on Thursday, TTDC Managing Director A.C. Mohandoss said: “It is one more effort by us to popularise lesser known tourist spots in the State through adventure sports. We are very much interested in starting adventure sports and rural tourism in different parts of the State and have sought feasibility report from authorities concerned.”

He said that the popularity of Yelagiri had increased several fold after the introduction of annual paragliding event along with new facilities such as boating, artificial waterfalls and musical fountain at the Nature Park.

YASA Joint Secretary C. Jayakrishnan said that in the first edition, 47 people took part in the joy ride, followed by 55 participants in the second edition. The event drew 18,000 tourists last year and 25,000 tourists from Tamil Nadu and neighbouring states were expected to visit Yelagiri this time.

It was proposed to enable tourists to fly in tandem with pilots. The 20-minute joy ride would cost Rs.2,500 per person.

More adventure sports

According to Mr. Mohandoss, TTDC is proposing to introduce adventure sports on the Kolli Hills and at Kodiveri in Erode district. The Tourism Corporation had spent nearly Rs.50,000 for purchasing two bullock carts for the Mamallapuram Beach Resort Complex and earned Rs.35,000 in less than six weeks.

“A botanical garden is being established on 82 acres in Yelagiri at a cost of Rs.25 crore. The work is being jointly undertaken by Department of Rural Development and TTDC. It will be ready in three years,” he said.

He said they had conducted 27 trekking programmes in the last eight months to various places such as Top Slip, Monkey Falls, Aliyar Dam, Kolli Hills, Amrithi Forest, Shervaroyan Hills, Trisoolam and Kovai Courtallam, in which 700 people took part.

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