Sunday, 14 April 2013

Adventure tourism achieves new heights in Himachal

Himachal Vacation Travel News
SHIMLA/ MANALI: The rough and treacherous mountainous regions of Himachal are earning revenues for both its residents and government as adventure tourism of the state is on its rise. Although the state has failed to attract high end adventure enthusiasts due to the weak infrastructure, but still a sharp bounce in adventure industry in recent years is drawing attraction of more and more tourists from across the world.
Adventure tourism in Himalayan regions of Himachal is on rise
With over five lakh tourists visiting state only for adventure activities, which is more than twice than that it was 10 years back, Himachal has proved its potential in sector of adventure tourism. According to sources, in addition to tourists from abroad, a large part of subscribers to Himachal are from Maharashtra, West Bengal and southern states of the country. Not only basic adventure activities like river rafting, paragliding and skiing are the hot selling sports, but mountaineering has proved to be a backbone of tourism industry of the Himachal.
“Himachal is establishing its identity as mini-Nepal for its sky-high hills which are not that easy to climb,” owner of Himalayan Caranvan, Ravi Thakur, said, who claims hundreds of permissions are being sought from Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF), Delhi, to climb peaks in Himachal every year. “Thousands of climbers are reaching Himachal to scale one of the toughest peaks of the world every year. Easy access to base of the peaks and low cost climbing expeditions are pulling attention of the world. We have challenging peaks ranging from 15,000 feet to 22,362 feet,” he said.
The Western Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (now ABVIMAS) has prepared hundreds of skilled mountaineers in Himachal in last four decades who have further contributed to cheap, safe and eco-friendly adventure tourism in the state. Kangra, Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, Spiti and Kinnaur have become the hotspot for adventure activities.
“Lakhs of tourists from France, UK, USA, Germany, Japan, Italy and Israel are visiting Himachal every year and majority of them come for adventure activities, especially mountaineering,” Kapil Negi from Indian Himalayan Excursions said. According to him, as mountaineering is a form of physical fitness, more and more Indians living in big cities are getting into the adventure activities. “As per the preliminary estimates, adventure trade of the state may rise up to 20% this year has hundreds of bookings are being done every day.”
The negative part of adventure tourism in Himachal is negligence on the part of government. State has no artificial adventure resort to attract high end tourists. According to service providers, they lose hundreds of bookings due to unavailability of expensive activities like bungee jumping and sky-lines. Japanese climbers are given credit to explore the peaks of Western Himalayas and they had summit almost all peaks of Himachal many decades back when mountaineering was not a part of tourism in Himachal. Today, thousands of youths of the state are engaged in different adventure activities like trekking, camping, rock climbing, rappelling, mountain biking, jeep safari, river rafting and paragliding.

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