Maldives first hot air balloon festival delayed, allows more to join

Maldives’ first ever hot air balloon festival has been postponed due to bad weather, but more tickets are to be sold allowing more people to join in the fun.

Maldives Hot Air Balloon Festival 2017, organised by private company Unix Sporting in association with Ministry of Youth and Sports and Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), was initially scheduled to be held on May 19 and 20 at Maafannu Stadium in capital Male.

But an official from Unix Sporting told Maldives Insider on Thursday that the festival had to be rescheduled for Eid al-Fitr holiday, which begins on June 26, due to bad weather forecast. Meteorological service has confirmed that the weather would be ideal for such a festival only after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is set to begin on May 27, she added.

According to the official, the festival would now be held from June 26-28.

With the delay, the number of tickets available for purchase has also been increased, but Unix Sporting did not disclose an exact number. Tickets for the balloon ride will go on sale on Sunday, and will be sold for MVR700 (USD46) with each of the three balloons accommodating four passengers at a time.

The hot air balloons will be operated by overseas experts.

In addition to the balloon rides, the entrance free festival will also focus on bringing together people of all ages to enjoy a number of other activities as well, including live music, Night Glow Photo Shoot, Inflatable Fun Park for kids and photo booths.

Despite being new to the Maldives, hot air balloon rides are a popular activity amongst tourists in several countries around the world. Neighbouring countries, including India and Sri Lanka also offer hot air balloon rides to explore their natural landscape.

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