Mumbai Local

State to expand heli-tourism, boost cruise tourism

The government has surveyed Matheran, and Elephanta and Ajanta caves for the purpose.— File Photo  

The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation has decided to expand its heli-tourism initiative. It has surveyed tourist attractions such as Matheran, Elephanta and Ajanta caves for expanding its heli-tours launched in Mumbai in collaboration with Pawan Hans.

Valsa Nair Singh, State secretary for Tourism, said: “We surveyed Matheran for a possible helipad. We had explored one at Elephanta Caves, but there are many concerns and only after addressing these concerns, we will move forward. We are also looking at developing a small airstrip, currently being used only on charter basis, at Ajanta.”

Ms Singh said the MTDC-Pawan Hans collaboration on chopper rides over Mumbai has taken off, and got several private players interested in offering similar rides, which would bring down the tariff and offer more options to tourists.

Ms Nair Singh said, “Since we started the service in January, a total of 385 people have taken chopper rides. The IRCTC has also tied up with private player Aman Air to offer a similar service. Uber has started offering booking services. So, MTDC has taken the first steps, and our job is to encourage private players to enter the sector and let the market forces take over. Like the sea plane services, heli-tourism tries to encourage public-private partnership.”

Thomas Cook India has also spotted potential in heli-tourism, and has begun offering chartered rides to its clientele of high-net worth individuals (HNI) and ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNI). Rajeev Kale, president and country head, Leisure Travel Thomas Cook (India) said, “Heli-tourism is an extremely niche segment and has just recently started witnessing demand among the Indian diaspora. Fuelled by evolving consumer tastes, we offer tailor-made packages for our HNI-UHNI clientele to include private charters and heli-tours of Mumbai, Pune, Udaipur, Ladakh and Vaishno Devi.”

Mr Kale said exclusive experiences like Heli-tours had “brag value”, and has strong potential not just to HNI-UHNI clients, but also to domestic tourists from Tier II cities and non-metro cities.

“Heli-tourism is for the high-heeled tourist for whom money is not an issues. So, we are exploring if we can offer hop-on kind of heli-tours to the island sea forts which are the unique marvels in Maharashtra like the Sindhudurg fort,” Mr Kale said.


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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 3:09:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/state-to-expand-helitourism-boost-cruise-tourism/article8554077.ece

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