International hot-air balloon fest takes off in Pollachi

The eighth edition of the three-day Tamil Nadu International Balloon Festival (TNIBF) has begun at Pollachi in Coimbatore District on Friday.

Hot-air balloons from various countries took to the skies much to the delight of local people and visitors who gathered in large numbers at the international balloon festival, organised by the Tamil Nadu Tourism department in Pollachi near here on Friday.

Tens of balloons from around eight countries such as England, Brazil, the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Spain, Vietnam, France, America and Thailand littered the skies, including one from the Tamil Nadu Tourism Department. The festival was not conducted over the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An official from the Tourism Department said a balloon bearing the logo of Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation would be a part of the festival, as the event is being organised in partnership with the department for the first time.The official said the aim of the festival was to attract people, especially from other countries, to various tourist destinations in the State. After the Chess Olympiad in Chennai, the number of foreigners visiting Mamallapuram has increased.

“It is a sight to behold to see colourful and huge balloons going up the sky. A never to be missed opportunity to witness balloon festivals, which we have seen only in foreign countries,” said S Manickam, a private school teacher.

Visitors flew in the balloons and were spellbound by the aerial beauty of the landscape. Coimbatore Collector GS Sameeran also flew in one of the balloons with his wife.

“The festival has been organised to signify Tamil culture and tradition. After examining various locations, Pollachi was chosen for the festival considering various suitable factors like wind speed, landing terrain and environment. Through this festival, Pollachi and Coimbatore will find a place on the international tourism map,” the Collector said.

Balloons in different shapes including a dinosaur and cartoon characters turned out to be the cynosure of all eyes.

The average height of the balloons ranges between 60 feet to 100 feet at the festival, which will end on Sunday.

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