Inaugurating the 7-day long paragliding festival at Chandpora, Harwan today, the Tourism Minister Ghulam Ahmad Mir said that paragliding is one of the latestnewest entries in the list of adventure sports in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Being blessed with endless plush greenery and exquisite hilltops, it is a perfect place to try paragliding and one can choose to glide over valleys, mountains or lakes “, he said and added that for this adventure aero sport at Sonamarg, Gulmarg, Harwan and Baderwah are iconic places to provide excellent winds and landscape for this adventure.The Paragliding festival was organized by Tourism Department to introduce it at commercial level under private sector, for the purpose the Department also facilitates local youth by providing them necessary training of paragliding.During the festival days several adventure competitions like tendon, solo flights and paraglides would be held, in which besides State players 31 National level players are participating.
Director Tourism Kashmir, TalatParvaz, Manging Directors, CCC, Mr TufailMatto, Managing Director, JKTDC, Mr. Shamim Ahmad besides a number of Tourists, adventure lovers and locals were present who evinced keen interest in paragliding.
Speaking on the occasion, Tourism Minister said that J&K Tourism is planning to push Kashmir as an adventure tourism destination, as domestic as well as foreign tourists do come to the Valley to see the scenic beauty and splendour of Kashmir. He said that there is change in mind set of international tourists and young domestic tourists who indulge in adventure activities in Kashmir Valley.
This year the Kashmir Festival was organised for this very purpose with the main focus on adventure activities, the Minister added. We organised rafting expeditions, paragliding events, cycling, skating, and kayaking, trekking and other events during the festival. Participation in travel marts, travel festivals at national and international levels is the objective of the government aimed at promotion of Valley as destination for adventure activities.Commenting on the necessity of infrastructural development of Kashmir as a top international destination, Mir said that several major initiatives were taken by the government during last 4 years of regime but there is always room for improvement.
Referring to huge rush of tourists who visited the State during last couple of years, Mr. Mir said that government contemplates to develop more accommodation in government as well as private sector so that the rush of tourists could be accommodated in coming spring season. However, he implied upon investors to take part in construction of hotels, guest houses and other complexes as only a few five-star hotels have come up in the last couple of years and many more are in the pipeline in the private sector, “he informed.The Director Tourism said that J&K is also rich in adventure tourism and Government is endeavouring to promote and showcase it globally. He said adventure tourism in the State has great employment opportunities for youth. He said Government is going to impart trainings in adventure sports to the youth so that they would be able to setup their units under this sector, and added that for the purposes the Government is providing soft loans with subsidies to the intending contenders for setting up their units. He called upon the youth to come forward and take maximum benefits of these schemes for their income generation.