The company responsible for putting Pokhara on the international adventure sports map is still awaiting the green light for amphibious ultralight flights.
Avia's ultralights are popular among domestic and foreign tourists, but amphibious flights have not quite taken off. Avia ran successful test flights on Phewa in 2006 and examined the environmental impacts of landing planes on the lake. In 2011, the club shifted its focus to the more secluded Begnas Lake. But resistance from local fishermen and boating associations stalled hopes of any real progress.
Praveen Gauchan of Avia Club says it is difficult coordinating with a lot of different interest groups. Fishermen and boatmen argue that landing on the lake will disrupt boating routes, increase pollution and kill fish, which Gauchan denies. Besides, he says, the Begnas area could benefit from overnight tourism. Avia says it is ready to pay a lake landing tax that will go to local communities, and local boats will be used to transfer guests.
Gauchan says Avia will persist and introduce the first amphibious ultralight flights in Nepal. He adds, "It will add another adventure to Pokhara, and perfectly combine its two main assets: the lakes and mountains."
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