With an aim to put Kerala on the global adventure tourism map, the government has decided to host four international adventure sporting events this year, state Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas said in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.
Tourist hotspots Vagamon, Varkala, Mananthavady and Kozhikode would be the venues for paragliding, surfing, mountain biking and whitewater kayaking events, the minister said at a press conference held here.
The ‘International Paragliding Competition 2024’, the first in the series of adventure sporting events this year, will be held from March 14 to 17 at Vagamon, Idukki, he said.
“This is India’s largest aero sports adventure festival where more than 100 nationally and internationally renowned gliders will participate,” Riyas said.
The minister also said that more than 15 countries have expressed interest in participating in the festival and that paragliding international champions and world-famous riders would also be participating in it.
The four-day fest will feature contestants from France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, the US, the UK, Nepal and the Indian states of Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Sikkim, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh, he said.
The International Surfing Festival will be held at Varkala in Thiruvananthapuram district from March 29 to 31 and it will be the first national surfing championship this year, the minister said.
Surfing athletes from India’s east and west coastal cities will compete in various categories, he said.
“The festival aims to make Varkala, Kerala’s premier surfing destination, an internationally recognised surfing hotspot,” Riyas said.
The 7th edition of the International Mountain Cycling Championship (MTB Kerala-2024), which has already put the state on the global competitive mountain cycling map, will be held from April 26 to 28 at Priyadarshini Tea Plantation, Mananthavady in Wayanad district, he said.
The five-kilometre-long track where the race takes place is situated at an altitude of 3,000 feet, he said.
The main attraction of the championship is the cross-country competition, which covers terrain like mud, rock and water and cyclists from 25 countries are expected to participate, the minister said.
Competitions for amateur cyclists from India will also be organised and the winners in this race will get an opportunity to compete with foreign star cyclists at the MTB Kerala International Competition, he added.
He further said that the MTB Kerala has also been included in the MTB Championship calendar of Union Cycliste International (UCI), the governing body of the sport of cycling based in Switzerland.
The 10th edition of the Malabar River Festival, famous for its organisational excellence and spectator participation, will be held from July 25 to 28, he said.