By: Aid Bashir
Srinagar: Amid huge tourist influx in Kashmir, the tourism department has rolled out first-ever hot air balloon rides at Zabarwan park in Srinagar to woo and entertain tourists and local visitors.
The introduction of hot-air balloon is part of tourism department’s series of new initiatives to attract more and more tourists and giving them new means of entertainment and adventure. This year, March month has already created history by registering record number of tourist arrivals, first time in the past 10 years. Srinagar Airport also marked March 28 as the historic day as over 15000 passenger arrivals and departures were recorded, first time in the Airport history. Interestingly, over two lakh tourists also visited the famed Tulip garden in Srinagar during first 10 days.
Talking to news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), exclusively, Director Tourism Kashmir, G N Itoo said that for the first time, they have started hot-air balloon for tourists and locals in Zabarwan park. “Some five years ago, a routine balloon was introduced but this time, we have introduced first ever hot-air balloon for tourists as well as local visitors at Zabarwan park today,” he said.
He said that the hot-baloon goes up in the air and allows a person to enjoy the breath-taking view of Zabarwan mountains and famous Dal Lake. “This balloon has a capacity of accommodating four persons at a time besides its Captain. There were certain safety measures and rules which are mandatory,” he said, adding in the first week, tourists and local guests would enjoy heavy discounts for using hot-baloon.
Asked whether tourism department is planning to introduce more such initiatives to attract more tourists, he said to begin with one hot-baloon has been introduced and if its trial goes on successfully, more will be introduced. “I inaugurated it for the trial run and it was a beautiful experience. If all goes well, we will have one such balloon at all the major tourist destinations soon,” Itoo said.
He, however, said that for tourists, the Tourism department was mulling to introduce para-gliding at all famous tourist destinations that tourist spots that suit the para-gliding. He urged tourists and locals to enjoy the hot-air balloon trip at the Zabarwan park—(KNO)