Shimla flying festival begins in Junga; state hopes for revival of tourism business after devastating floods


Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu on Thursday inaugurated Shimla Flying Festival in Junga. Over 50 participants from different parts of India and abroad will be participating in the four-day-long flying festival. With the start of this festival, organizers are now hopeful for the revival of the tourism business, which was battered by the rain and floods. (Also Read | Lahaul and Spiti receive fresh snowfall; drop in mercury boosts tourism hopes)

Paragliders during Shimla flying festival at Junga on Thursday. (PTI)(HT_PRINT)

Chief Minister Sukhu at the festival said that Himachal Pradesh is completely safe for tourists.

“After the disaster, the government has completed the work of restoring all the roads on war footing. He said that the roads leading to Kullu-Manali and other tourist places have been restored. In such a situation, it is completely safe for tourists to come here. He said that such a festival is being organized for the first time in Shimla. This will boost the tourism business of Shimla and the entire state,” he said.

Sukhu said that International Kullu Dussehra is going to be organized this month and people from 20 countries will participate in this international event.

He said that the international Dussehra festival will also give new wings to the tourism business of Himachal Pradesh.

The organizers believe that this first-ever flying festival of Shimla will be able to boost tourism in the region.

“The participants for the first Shimla flying festival have come from different parts of India and from neighbouring countries. Other international participants could not come and they had to cancel the programme due to the international conditions of the countries but we have 51 participants here. This is a new adventure destination for paragliding in Shimla and also to promote tourism in the region. The chief minister has inaugurated this four-day festival. Starting today the competitions will last till October 15. It will definitely boost tourism in the region. It is good that participants from the Indian airforce and Indian army are also taking part,” said Arun Rawat, organizer of the Shimla paragliding festival.

The tourism stakeholders are also expecting that the festival will boost tourism in the region.

“It is good that new paragliding destinations have come up here near Shimla. These kinds of festivals are important to boost tourism in the region. In the recent past, we had a setback to the tourism business due to disaster but now it is picking up. Our occupancy has gone 60 per cent to 70 per cent recently and it is good. After this new paragliding adventure destination has come more foreign tourists will be attracted to the region,” said Amit Kashyap, director of tourism and Managing Director of Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.

Moreover, the participants are enthusiastic after being part of the festival here, he said.

“It is very good to be here, I am thrilled to be part of this festival. We are participating in other competitions also. Here it is a good paragliding destination and the takeoff and landing areas are very good. There is a need to identify more such destinations and it will promote tourism in the region. We did practice and survey of the paragliding destination three days ago and it is good and now I am looking forward to the competition,” said Ramvilas, a participant from the Indian army.

“It is good that a new paragliding destination has been identified, I was sceptical about the safety and perfection of this destination, I was told earlier that it has a narrow valley but finally we saw, it is a very good landing and takeoff site for paragliding. I am happy to be here,” said Pawan kumar Negi, a participant from Himachal Pradesh.

Shyam, the participant, who kicked off the competition today said that it is good to have such a competition here.

“I am happy that I took off as the first paragliding participant in the flying competition. The government and locals are promoting this new destination for paragliding and it is good to be here. Now after this more tourists will come to the region and locals will get jobs from the tourism business here,” said Shyam.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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