Tourism Department Rolls Out ‘Hot Air Balloon’ In City

Two women seated on a bench watch a hot air balloon taking off from Zabarwan Park in Srinagar city on Friday. KO Photo, Abid Bhat

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 the tourism department’s series of new initiatives to attract more and more tourists and give them new means of entertainment and adventure.

This year, March has already created history by registering a record number of tourist arrivals, the 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, the first time in the Airport's history. Interestingly, over two lakh tourists also visited the famed Tulip garden in Srinagar during the first 10 days.

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 the first ever hot-air balloon for tourists as well as local visitors at Zabarwan park today,” he said.

He said that the hot-balloon 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 are 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-balloon.

Asked whether the tourism department is planning to introduce more such initiatives to attract more tourists, he said to begin with one hot-balloon 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 paragliding at all famous tourist destinations that are tourist spots that suit the paragliding. He urged tourists and locals to enjoy the hot-air balloon trip at the Zabarwan Park. (KNO)

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