The Rwanda Development Board has announced that paramotoring — a form of ultralight aviation where the pilot wears a motor on his back (a paramotor) that provides enough thrust to take off using a paraglider — will be added to the country’s tourist attractions.
At a recent paramotor demonstration, two pilots, Sebastien Houben and Alain Julot from the Rwanda Flying Sports Club, ran across the field of Huye Airstrip, caught the wind in their wings, and rose up to 150 metres.
“Having spent time travelling around the country with its beautiful hills, and having seen how much energy goes into tourism promotion, I decided to introduce flying sports as a new product. We believe it will boost and diversify the tourism opportunities in the country,” said Mr Houben, a Rwandan-born Belgian.
“Everyone should have the courage to come and get trained in piloting the paramotors,” said Alain Gillet, the instructor.
The Rwanda Development Board plans to use paramotoring as a new tourism product after conducting studies that showed that sport activities can increase Rwanda’s tourism revenues.
“We are working with the Rwanda Flying Sports Club to attract tourists who enjoy this sport. The paramotors can carry one person, but we will soon buy two-seater paramotors,” said Sibomana Jean Aime, an official from RDB’s Tourism Department.
RDB plans to operate a service for tourists who want to be flown as passengers.
Depending on the location and the height of a flight, this service is expected to cost between $50 and $200, Sibomana said.
Tourist who can fly paramotors on their own will have to obtain permits. There will also be equipment available for rent or for sale.
The estimated cost of equipment for a single paramotor is about $3,500.
The Rwanda Flying Sports Club will provide training for people aspiring to become licensed paraglider pilots.
The training will take up to a month and will cost $3,000.