Unbelievably, Goa over the years has transformed itself from being a laid back state with hardly any infrastructure to support the immense tourism potential it has, to the most happening destination in India. The recent addition of helicopter rides has added even more glamour to attract tourists from around the world.
It is a collaborative effort between Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) and Pawan Hans Ltd. The starting point chosen for the launch already existed at the Government Helipad, Fort Aguada, North Goa, where auxiliary facilities like a waiting lounge needed to be developed.
The ten-minute joy ride is conducted on a state-of-the-art Bell-206 chopper known to generate less noise. With a seating capacity of upto 5 passengers. For a minimal fee of Rs. 3,500/- per person one can get an aerial view of beautiful Goa from a height of 500-1000 ft. To enjoy these rides, a whole lot of government stipulated rules and regulations need to be adhered to.
Earlier the Heli-ride covered areas of North Goa like Mandovi River, Dona Paula, Miramar, Panjim city (including the landmarks), Altinho, Ribander causeway, Britona, Betim, Reis Magos fort ending back at the helipad in Aguada.
However, the government relocated the entire project to South Goa’s Park Hyatt Goa Resorts and Spa, Cansualim owing to opposition from locals and the respective MLA’s. One can now experience the pristine beaches of Arossim, Majorda, Betalbatim, Colva, Benaulim and Varca.
There are also plans to fly sorties to Dudhsagar in the near future.
It isn’t that the new development has been accepted with open arms in Goa as many Goan tourism industry stakeholders, MLAs (even from the ruling party), residents have raised a question of its impact on the environment and the local economy. The fear of noise pollution from the helicopters affecting local businesses of guest house owners in the vicinity remains. Also the impact it will have on the flora and fauna of the plateau.