Seaplane tourism in Goa from August

Seaplane tourism in Goa from August

Seaplane tourism in Goa from August

Tourists desirous of getting a bird's eyeview of Goa's breathtaking natural beauty can look forward to a thrilling experience as the state is set to launch a seaplane facility in August this year.

Introduction of facilities like seaplanes, heli-tourism and amphibious buses would boost tourist inflow into the state by over 14 percent, state Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar told media persons on Saturday on the sidelines of the first ever trial landing of a seaplane in the Mandovi river off Panaji.

"It is a novel concept in India, which combines convenience of travel with excitement of water takeoffs and landings. There is no investment by the state government for this service; it will be owned and operated by Mehair (a private aviation company). We are only providing them support to facilitate smooth operations," Parulekar said. Goa is the second state after Maharashtra to allow seaplanes for tourism. 

"The seaplanes will offer joy rides at affordable prices. A seaplane operation anywhere always creates excitement and attracts tourists by tapping into their curiosity and thrill seeking instincts," he said, adding that fares under the public-private partnership (PPP) project would be worked out in consultation with the company before its formal launch. 

The seaplane routes start from Goa's Dabolim airport to the picturesque Mandovi and Chapora rivers and the popular Coco beach, a beautiful bay some distance from Panaji.

The 9-seater amphibious seaplane will pick up passengers at Dabolim airport and fly them to the destination, for instance Coco beach, in just seven minutes. The seaplane will land in the water close to a floating jetty, onto which the passengers will alight. Smaller boats will then ferry them to shore from where they can drive away.

Siddharth Verma, chief executive officer of Mehair, said that seaplanes would be a "huge attraction" in Goa.

"We assure that the services  will not cause  any  impact on the  marine eco-system or affect the activities of the Goan fishing community."