Adventure tourism in Maharashtra
Hot-air balloon service kicks off in Maharashtra as a new tourism product which is aimed at increasing domestic tourism and improving inbound.
ANITA JAIN iving wings to adventure tourism in the state, Sky Waltz Balloon Safari in association with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and Rainbow Riderss (the SkyWaltz franchisee operating the hot air balloons) recently launched hotair ballooning services. Being the second state in India to launch such services, MTDC is positive to receive good response from both domestic and inbound tourists. The service is available in Lonavala – a hill station located about 90 km from Mumbai. The company will operate hot-air ballooning flights in Lonavala, Pune and surrounding area, starting with two balloons. However, the company will deploy a balloon for special MICE and promotional events in Mumbai. The one hour flight
` is charged at 12,000 per person and it is offering 30 per cent off for the first 200 seats. Travel agents and operators are offered a ten per cent commission to sell this product and it might increase considering the size of the group.
Talking on the sidelines of the event organised in Mumbai to announce this service, Chhagan Bhujbal, State Tourism Minister of Maharashtra said, “The increasing tourism in the country has provided an impetus for not only development but also introduction of innovative and exciting tourism products. We are positive to record growth in tourism figures post this launch as many Indians opt for hot-air ballooning experience while travelling international. So by offering it in Maharashtra, we will not only receive tourists from within the state but also from neighbouring states.” Apart from catering to the family and FIT segment, the company is also targeting MICE segment, especially incentives, weddings and film production houses.
Sky Waltz has a fleet of seven hot air balloons. Over 15,000 people have soared above the clouds since 2008 when Sky Waltz launched its hot air balloon safaris in Rajasthan. Incidentally, Sky Waltz is the first Indian company licenced by the ministry of civil aviation to operate commercial hot air balloon flights across the country.
Bhujbal addressing the event in Mumbai