Dharan hopes VNY-2020 will save paragliding
Dharan was the first city in State 1 to start commercial paragliding service after a few successful test flights.
Tourism entrepreneur Roshan Adhikari had started the first commercial paragliding company named ‘Dharan Sky Adventures’ 5 years back. Even after the long period, Adhikari said his company is facing constant loss. Adhikari said “In the early days, I was okay with loss as it was struggle period. But, it is a big headache to incur a loss for half a decade.”
Adhikari said, “Paragliding flight cost is discouraging potential local operators from Dharan and adjoining towns of Itahari, Biratnagar and Jhapa. Dharan gets Indian tourists from Bihar and West Bengal but tourists from other countries are rare. They do not like adventure of paragliding quite often. However, locals are also afraid of paragliding cost of Rs 6,000.”
Adhikari said he had been running his paragliding company just to give continuity to the nascent adventure tourism package in his hometown. Owing to higher operating costs and lower passengers, commercial paragliding companies have not increased in State 1. Instead, commercial company like Budha Subba Paragliding has ceased its commercial operation. Of late, various places of State 1 have been testing paragliding flights.
Belaka of Udayapur hosts a paragliding training centre. Panchthar, Ilam, Dhankuta, Sankhuwasabha, Okhaldhunga and Udayapur have tested dozens of paragliding flights. Still, there is no boom in commercial company and clients. However, some paragliding pilots seem to be optimistic during Visit Nepal Year 2020.
Pilot Ram Rai said, “Scholarship to potential paragliding pilots could reduce flying costs. Proper connectivity with Bangladesh, Indian states could bring in some success.” He explained, “Such easy access to enormous markets must be explored by travel agencies and concerned governmental authorities.”