To boost cruise tourism in coastal Karnataka, New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) has introduced a helicopter service for cruise passengers.
AV Ramana, Chairman of NMPT, addressing presspersons in Mangaluru on Monday on the sidelines of the arrival of the first cruise vessel of the season, Aida Vita, with 1,154 passengers and 407 crew-members from Europe, said that the introduction of helicopter services from the port to the nearby tourist destinations was the main attraction on Monday.
Stating that this facility is bound to find favour with foreign tourists, he said Karnataka’s tourist spots will get footfalls once the connectivity through helicopter service clicks.
On Monday, Chipsan Aviation Pvt Ltd stationed its seven-seater helicopter at the New Mangalore Port for the benefit of cruise passengers visiting the port.
Ramana said 16 passengers from the next cruise vessel, which is expected to call at the port on November 12, have pre-booked the helicopter services.
The Chairman said that NMPT has got confirmation of 24 cruise vessels docking this season. (the cruise season lasts from November to April). As many as 26 cruise vessels had called at New Mangalore Port in the last cruise season.
He said NMPT plans to develop a dedicated gate for cruise passengers, and a transport hub outside the port.
Speaking on the contribution of cruise tourism to the local economy, he said on an average a foreign cruise passenger spends around $100 during a visit to the city. This helps local artisans, village industry and vendors. The visit of each cruise vessel can create at least 500 indirect jobs in the form of vehicle drivers, tour guides, etc. He said NMPT berths cruise vessels on priority basis.