GTDC to shift heli service back to N Goa

The Goa tourism development corporation (GTDC) is in one of those doomed-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situations with its helicopter service for tourists caught between political and public interventions. With the season starting next month,GTDC wanted to shift the helicopter service back to North Goa, but do not wish to reveal the venue in fear of opposition against the location, despite a venue being finalized by it.

 GTDC chairman Nilesh Cabral told TOI on Sunday that they are looking at restarting the helicopter service next month, but from North Goa this season, but declined to disclose the venue, wary of objections similar to last year that had led to shifting of venue. The helicopter service was introduced last season from Aguada fort but had to be shifted to South Goa after some locals from Calangute-Candolim supported by local politicians had stopped it.
Some shack operators and hoteliers were upset over the shifting of the helipad service to South Goa as their potential business was also lost. But in the face of opposition and with local legislators getting involved, everybody kept silent, said a shack owner, who was not willing to be named. “It was made out that everybody opposed the helipad service at Aguada, which was not the case,” he added.
The helicopter service was shifted to South Goa and helicopter rides were conducted using a private helipad of a starred hotel in Cansaulim. The shifting of the location posed logistic problems for it entailed increased service cost and tourists from North Goa wishing to take the ride had to be transported to South Goa.
North Goa is a preferred location for it has a heavy pool of domestic tourists, who are more likely to avail of the service, said a tourism official. Besides Aguada fort, the government has a ready helipad at Old Goa. But GTDC had not shown any inclination to opt for Old Goa helipad fearing opposition.