September 21: Preparations are underway to resume paragliding in Pokhara after a gap of five months. According to Nepal Airsports Association (NAW) chair Krishna Bhandari, they have decided to resume paragliding following the government’s decision to lift the prohibitory order against COVID -19 pandemic.
"We have already organised a paragliding safety and awareness programme to resume the service. Similarly, the condition of paragliding devices has been checked. All the paragliding companies have successfully conducted test flights before resuming the flights and the resumption is likely in a couple of days," he said.
Paragliding pilots and paragliding entrepreneurs attended a day-long training. The programme was held in the presence of around 200 people.
Pokhara Airport's Chief Bikram Raj Gautam, Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) Flight Safety Standard Department chief Raju Shrestha, senior manager Devendra Pandey and officer Mahesh Aryal were there to facilitate the session that was focused on the safety measures and awareness of paragliding.
Paragliding known as one of the forms of adventurous tourism had commercially started in Pokhara in 1999. At present, there are 60 paragliding companies in Pokhara and the number of pilots is 350 including around 15 foreigners. This sector has an investment of around Rs 1 billion while 1,000 people are directly employed.
The paragliding companies had offered 50-60 percent discount after the first wave of COVID-19 and subsequently lockdown and the policy had attracted quite a good number of domestic tourists in Pokhara.
After the significant discount the service was available at Rs 2,500 to Rs 3000 against the previous charge of Rs 5,000 to 8,000. The operators have yet to decide new fare for the service, NAW general secretary Balaram Acharya said. -- RSS