NMPT offers helicopter facility for cruise passengers

New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) has introduced a helicopter service for cruise passengers as part of its efforts to boost cruise tourism. The move coincides with the docking of the first vessel of the cruise season, Aida Vita, docking at the port   on Monday.

Speaking on the occasion of the arrival of the Aida Vita, with 1,154 passengers and 407 crew-members from Europe, AV Ramana, Chairman of NMPT, said the introduction of helicopter services from the port to the nearby tourist destinations was the main attraction.
He said the facility is bound to find favour with foreign tourists, adding that Karnataka’s tourist spots will get footfalls once the connectivity through helicopter service clicks.
NMPT is facilitating helicopter connectivity to locations such as Bekal Fort in northern Kerala, and tourist destinations in Chikmagaluru. 
As a part of this effort, the port authorities have earmarked a small piece of land. Copter operators having statutory clearances from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation have been allowed to run the service. “The first service starts today,” he said.
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 12 November, have pre-booked the helicopter services.
The chairman said NMPT has got confirmation of 24 cruise vessels docking this season. (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.