Paraglider numbers jumped twofold to 19k last yearIncreasing numbers of thrill seekers are choosing paragliding among the diverse adventure tourism activities offered in Pokhara.
Increasing numbers of thrill seekers are choosing paragliding among the diverse adventure tourism activities offered in Pokhara.
According to Tourism Ministry statistics, the number of paragliders jumped more than double to 19,341 last year, as the Lake City attracted adventure lovers, particularly Chinese and Indians, in droves. Among the total paragliders, 14,666 were foreigners.
Sujata Gurung, administration in-charge at Avia Club in Pokhara, attributed the growth to increased numbers of paragliding companies. There are currently 70 paragliding companies operating in the country.
Among them, 95 percent are based in Pokhara.
Until 2011, there were only 11 paragliding companies in the country.
“Besides, the growth in paraglider numbers can be attributed to pricing policy. Paragliding has become affordable to many people nowadays,” said Gurung.
Nepali paragliders are charged Rs8,000 for a flight lasting 20-25 minutes, while the price for foreigners is Rs12,000. A flight lasting nearly an hour will cost Rs15,000 for a foreigner and Rs10,500 for a Nepali.
According to Gurung, this activity was limited to foreigners until a few years ago, but now it has become popular among Nepali fun lovers too. Gurung said that January-February was the peak season for Chinese adventurers, while Indian visitors prefer the June-July season.
Aerial sports began in Nepal in 1996 with Sunrise Balloon and Avia Club offering hot air ballooning and ultra light flying respectively. Paragliding started to take off in 2007.
An increase in business has encouraged paragliding companies to spread out to other tourist destinations. Companies have been permitted to operate flights in Bandipur, Chitwan, Palpa and Bhedetar, among others, which are deemed potential paragliding sites.
According to travel trade entrepreneurs, Nepal has tremendous potential in adventure tourism with paragliding being identified as one of the fastest growing segments.