Vagamon becomes state’s gliding destination
Wednesday June 1 2005 15:48 IST
KOCHI: Soaring like a bird over the Vagamon greenery would no more remain a dream. Given its potential for adventure tourism, Vagamon has been listed as the prime location for gliding in the state.
With its hilly terrain, cool climes and vast meadows, Vagamon would soon host the programmes of Adventure Sports and Sustainable Tourism Academy (ASSTA). There so much to do here and you‘ll find that you have just as much fun or more as you do playing poker games online at home or as you do when you‘re hanging out with your friends. The area really does have so much to offer and there is something for everyone.
The Academy, established in March, also plans to conduct camping and hiking along with paragliding in Vagamon. In fact, it has completed a trial in paragliding, which was rated quite high by international experts like British pilot Paul James.
“This is one of the best sites I have seen in Asia,” said Paul after drifting down the Vagamon slopes recently.
According to ASSTA promoter Gopa K Varma, such activities are essential to keep the state’s tourism flag flying.
“Kerala has only a few tourism products and they are all primary and without any range to choose from. Countries cannot survive without supplementary tourism products,” pointed out this Bangkok-based engineer.
Paragliding is a tourist attraction and tourism generator across every European nation and is catching up even in Asian countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan along with Nepal, which is already in the PG circuit for a decade.
The ASSTA is run with the cooperation of several government and private sectors. With the help of faculty members from related fields, ASSTA aims to develop the knowledge of tourism and adventure sports in the state.
Gopa Varma, a licensed pilot from United States Hang gliding Association, helps in the mobilisation of resources.
The ASSTA also plans to utilise the expertise of the ex-Air Force people in the state. As paragliding is one of the fastest growing forms of adventure travel, it ensures increase in the annual revenue of the State Government, he said.
Promotion of this adventure sport nationally and internationally will have a direct impact on the rise in the number of visitors. This will indirectly contribute to the growth of ancillary industries. Emphasis on ‘ecotourism’ will give a better scope for tourism research, said Gopa.
The ASSTA also plans to venture in tourism-related research, consultancy, training, seminars, and workshops. Various seminars, workshops and training would be held to discuss and evolve future programmes.
“We also intend to provide inputs for the state’s policy on tourism and adventure sports based on basic or applied studies. We would also develop and create software and hardware as a tool or as a part of tourism product,” he said.