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08.04.2007 General News

Foreigners outnumber Ghanaians at paragliding festival


Mr Martin Mireku, Acting Executive Director of the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) on Sunday said most people patronizing the Third Pepsi-Ferdinand Ayim Kwahu Paragliding festival were foreigners.

"This year, we expect about a hundred passengers and so far about 25 passengers have gone on the ride and are mostly foreigners, he said, as the festival was gathering momentum."

Mr Mireku therefore urged Ghanaians to be adventurous and patronize the sport, announcing that there was a 300 million cedis insurance package from the State Insurance Company for an estimated 100 passengers.

In an interview with the GNA, Mr. Mireku said there were about 20 professional pilots from different countries who are all able to fly together with a passenger, and assured of their safety during flights.

Paragliding is an air sport, powered by light ultra modern aircraft that allows humans to fly like a bird.

Patrons fly with the professional pilots to ensure safety during flights.

Mr Mireku said safety measures have been put in place to rescue people should there be an unfortunate incident, in addition to the presence of the Red Cross.

He said the Ministry intends to develop training programmes to encourage more Ghanaians to take part in the sport and was in the process of identifying a suitable training ground.

The current flying site, he noted was not suitable for beginners because of the height.

Mr Mireku said the lack of funds is hindering such training programmes in Ghana due to the high cost of the equipments needed and appealed for more sponsorship.

He said the Paragliding festival, which coincides with the Easter celebrations, attracts foreigners to the Eastern Region especially the Kwahu area.

Mr. Mireku said there was the need to support the programme to help boost the tourism industry.

Patrons who wish to fly pay 500,000 cedis at peak periods, 300,000 during off peak periods and 200,000 cedis for students.

Source: GNA