The initiative was started to attract adventure seeking tourists
Jammu and Kashmir government kicked off a nine-day Paragliding Festival on October 2, an initiative to attract adventure-seeking tourists to the state.
The festival was kicked off by Minister for Tourism Ghulam Ahmad Mir at Dara, on the outskirts of Srinagar city.
Mir said although paragliding was done in other parts of the country, the beautiful mountains offer tremendous scope for the adventure sport.
“This is the second time this year that we are conducting such an event here. This adventure sport was missing here, even though there is a lot of potential for it. Till now, the only place where paragliding was done in the northern region of the country was in Kangra valley in Himachal Pradesh. But our Dara valley is much beautiful than Kangra valley,” Mir told reporters.
He said the Tourism Department has identified more places for the activity.
Training for youth
The minister said the government wants the youth of the state to adopt such of adventurous activities which have the potential to attract more tourists.
“We are trying to train local youth so that they adopt this activity. Till recent years, tourism meant that the guest came here, stayed in the hotels, enjoyed wazwaan (Kashmiri cuisine) and returned ... that was tourism for us. Now the world has changed.
People like to visit beautiful places, but like trekking and adventure sports as well. Paragliding is an important and attractive activity,” he said.
Mir said the department will support the youth and provide incentives to them. “ There is rafting, para-sailing and other activities which come in winter sports. People like such activities and visit far away places for taking part in these. And if we adopt these activities, then a tourist who used to stay here for three days, will stay here for seven days,” Mir said.
Thirty national-level paragliders will take part in the festival, Mir said.
“National level pilots are participating in the festival."
The participants said the valley has tremendous scope for adventure sports and can attract more adventure–loving tourists.
“It (gliding) was a beautiful experience. The place is beautiful, but what is more important is that the landing area is vast, which makes a glider more comfortable. The point of take–off is also very good. This is the second time that I have been here and it feels great.
This will sure help attract more tourists, especially those who are adventure loving,” Murli, a paraglider said.
Mir said the government will also organise a Saffron Festival from October 15.
“This will be a unique event. Many people have the desire to see where saffron grows and how it grows and that way they can build their trust on the quality of the product, which will give a good market to our product,” he said.PTI