Mangaluru: Tourists arriving on a cruise to Mangaluru, are now not only able to tour in and around the city in buses and taxis, but also fly to more distant attractions in the state and even Kerala, thanks to the heli- tourism launched by the New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) this cruise season.
The arrival of the Panama flagship, Aida Vita, with 1,154 passengers and 407 crew members onboard, marked the beginning of the cruise season this year in Mangaluru and the tourists found to their delight that a six- seater helicopter was at their service to fly them to places of interest both in Karnataka and nearby Kerala. The heli-tourism is being offered by the port in association with Chipsan Aviation Pvt Ltd.
“The helicopter service is bound to prove popular with foreign tourists, who can now pack in a lot more sightseeing,” NMPT chairman, A V Ramana told reporters.
“Tourist spots like Bekal and Chikkamagaluru are not very near Mangaluru and unless they are better connected,tourists will not have the time to visit them. So we decided to introduce heli- connectivity,” he explained.
Sixteen passengers arriving on the next cruise ship have already booked for the heli- tourism tours, according to him. Among the destinations covered in Karnataka are Dharmasthala, Kukke Subrahmanya, and Belur -Halebid.
The service is part of the port's initiatives to improve its facilities, which include a re- furbished cruise terminal with additional facilities like free wifi, a better shopping arcade and an information kiosk. As many as 24 cruises have confirmed their stopover in Mangaluru this year....