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.

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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

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