Mangaluru, Oct 09 2019: New Mangalore Port Trust (NMPT) will draw up a proposal to launch helicopter services to tourist destinations within a distance of 150-km from Mangaluru port, in order to attract cruise passengers, NMPT Chairman A V Ramana said.
The proposal will be submitted to the chief secretary of Karnataka government. If the heli services are connected to tourist destinations then NMPT can expect more cruise vessels, he told media on October 8, Tuesday. “If a helicopter service is launched during the cruise season, then passengers can be taken from the helipad in the city on a welcome trip to the tourist destinations that have helipad facility.”
A total of 26 cruise vessels had called on the port a year ago and 23 cruises had confirmed their visit during this season. The first cruise vessel of the year will call on port on November 4. The NMP is expecting more than 26 cruise vessels during the season.
NMPT chairman said in a move to give thrust to cruise tourism, they had drawn up a plan to have an exclusive gate and road for the movement of tourists at the port. The new gate with an approach road will cater to the entry and exit of tourists coming through cruisers. This will ensure that there is no hindrance to the regular traffic inside the port.
Keeping the interest of tourists in mind, district administration has agreed to run a pre-paid taxi counter. At present, pre-paid taxis and buses reach up to berth number 4 at the port to ferry passengers. When the first cruise arrives at the port on November 4, all the regular traffic from Mallya Gate of the Port will be diverted to other gates, to give a better feeling for the tourists.
The NMP is planning to have a transport hub outside the gate to help the passengers of cruise vessel explore the city on their own in a taxi or auto.
The NMPT chairman said survey for dredging at the port was nearing completion. The dredger had left for Mangaluru from Vishakhapattanam and dredging will begin from mid October.
The NMP had experienced 11% decline in handling cargo owing to the closure of MRPL due to water shortage in the month of March-April. The landslides and inclement weather had taken a toll on road cargo from the hinterland. “By the end of financial year, NMP is confident of achieving the target for the fiscal year.”