PRABHASH CHANDRA JHA/HARI BASTOLA
POKHARA, Sept 4: Paragliding has been growing as an attraction among the youths in Pokhara lately.
Youths here were further enthused by this sport after the Nepali team bagged silver medal in paragliding competition recently held 18th Asian Games in Indonesia.
The Nepali paragliding team vying in the Asian Games comprised five youths from Pokhara. They were Bimal Adhikari, Bijaya Gautam, Yukesh Gurung, Sushil Gurung and Bishal Thapa.
With their win in this adventure sport, the local youths in Pokhara are confident of building a promising career in this profession, according to Vice-President of the Nepal Air Sports Association, Krishna Prasad Bhandari.
The latest win of Nepal in the international sports event has also hinted towards the commercial growth of paragliding in Nepal, especially in Pokhara, also known as the City of Lakes and beauty.
This adventure sport has been growing number of tourists, domestic and foreigners alike, thereby contributing towards the local tourism of Pokhara, added Vice-President Bhandari.
As the government has aimed to attract 2 million tourists by 2022, paragliding sport could be an attraction to bring large number of tourists, opined Bhandari.
He added that due to the growing unhealthy competition among the paragliding entrepreneurs, many such enterprises are suffering loss.
There are altogether 62 paragliding companies currently operating in Pokhara since the first one that was established in 1998. Around 250-300 flights of paragliding take place in fair weather day as the best timing for paragliding is considered to be between 10:30 am to 4:30 pm.
An enterprise requires around Rs 10 million of investment while the profit is not proportionate to the investment and income which causes loss, argued Bhandari.
A domestic passenger pays Rs 8,000 for a single flight while a foreigner has to pay Rs 12,000 but due to the growing unhealthy competitions, domestic tourists are flown for Rs 4,500 while foreigners at around Rs 5,000.
Whatever is the scenario, paragliding is growing to be a huge adventure attraction in the City these days.