02 Feb 2014
An increasing number of foreign visiting paragliding pilots are showing interest to spend their flying holiday in Sikkim.
The state, which is fast emerging as paragliding destination of the country, has turned into heaven for tourists on one of the final settlements on the brink of a vast and desolate mountain region, uninhabited apart from occasional groups of trekkers.
Sikkim is turning out to be one of the hot spots for the adventure sport in the country due to excellent launching sites and ridges, according to a cross-section of paragliders. The state gained popularity among the paragliding community after the successful organization of first Sikkim Paragliding Festival at “beautiful flying site" Bulbuley Dara by Tourism & Civil Aviation Department of Sikkim in association with Paragliding Association of India [PAI] and Sikkim Paragliding Adventure Sports Co-operative Society Limited in the 2012.
Sikkim emerged on the paragliding map of the country after state govt sponsored 30 local youths for basic paragliding training in Manali in Himachal Pradesh in 2008 under "Chief Minister Self Employment and Capacity Building Program" to promote adventures tourism in big way in the state .
At present the state has more than 35 qualified commercial pilots who are conducting paragliding sessions in the backdrop of mountain ranges in its three paragliding sites at Bulbuley dara , Ranka ,Chakung.
The various para gliding associations registered with department of tourism are providing Tandom , High Fly, Medium fly flight services of different durations from various sites on reasonable rates .
The state has registered 6000 paragliding tourists in last three years. The state registered only 500 paragliding tourist during first year and its number increased steadily each year .The state has set target to attract 5000 paragliding tourist each year by 2020 by creating modern facilities.
The state s planning to expand and beautify the existing takeoff at Bulbuley dara and Chakung, so that the carrying capacity of the takeoff increases, as the number of Sikkimese pilots is increasing and numbers of tourist coming to fly is on the rise.
Paragliding services in the state are also being diversified after the Sikkim Paragliding Festival and a new hike and fly route in West Sikkim has been established . A new paragliding route from Phoktey dara(Nepal/India) border and Dentam.has also been identified .
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