Skywaltz Gets Great Response to India’s First Hot Air Balloon Wildlife Safari at Bandhavgarh in MP
by Mugdha Gaonkar Industry Watch | January 27, 2021 | Interview
SkyWaltz Madhya Pradesh Tourism Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
Commercial hot air balloon company Skywaltz has just started operating India’s first ever hot air balloon safari at a tiger reserve, at Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, and is already receiving an enthusiastic response. Staying true to its tourism tagline ‘The Heart of Incredible India’, Madhya Pradesh Tourism launched the hot air balloon wildlife safari to revive the State’s Tourism and attract visitors post pandemic.
EVENTFAQS Media reached out to Jai Thakore, Director, Skywaltz Balloon Safari, to know more about Skywaltz, the hot air balloon safari launch story, safety measures, future plans and more.
How it all started
Talking about the hot air balloon safari at Bandhavgarh launched on January 12, 2021, Jai Thakore said, “Skywaltz has the distinction of introducing hot air balloon service for tourists from various parts of the country. Our endeavour has always been to curate unique experiences for tourists in India and what better way than to capture the beautiful terrains, the picturesque grasslands, tropical forests filled with Sal trees and wildlife from the air? Now, with the launch of our service at Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, we are exploring opportunities to start similar flights at Kanha and Panna Tiger reserves. This is the maiden hot air balloon safari over a national park in India, in collaboration with MP Tourism.”
Response to the launch
At Bandhavgarh, the hot air balloon with capacity of nine passengers takes off from the buffer zone, flies over the core zone of the national park and lands outside the core zone, whereas the on-land safaris are restricted to buffer zone only. The core zone of Bandhavgarh National Park boasts of an ancient temple and a fort, which are visible from the air. The hot air balloon ride lasts between 45 minutes to an hour. The inaugural price per passenger for a ride is Rs 15,000+taxes and this price is valid till March 31, 2021.
Since the launch of the flight, the response has been remarkable and travel enthusiasts are absolutely captivated with the experience of exploring a national park from up in the air. A few lucky ones have already sighted tigers and other wildlife animals while flying on the hot air balloon, said Thakore.
Why Madhya Pradesh
Mentioning his affinity towards Madhya Pradesh, Thakore said, “MP has immense potential because of its diverse offerings in the travel and tourism domain. We have been working closely with MP Tourism for the last two years and have been successful in ideating, planning and execution of a few festivals, celebrating the glorious heritage, spirit and culture that highlights the core of Madhya Pradesh.
“MP holds great potential for tourism-based products. Wildlife, nature, spirituality and heritage form the core attractions, MP also has three UNESCO World Heritage sites, 11 national parks, 24 wildlife sanctuaries and 6 tiger reserves. MP enjoys thick forest cover, rich bio diversity and abundance of natural beauty. And what better way to explore the destination than with a 360-degree view from high up in a hot air balloon? Escape the crowds and observe the sights from a unique perspective, whilst drifting where the wind takes you,” Thakore added.
Safety measures at Skywaltz
At Skywaltz, maintaining safety standards is priority, said Thakore. “To ensure safety of our passengers and crew, we adhere to strict guidelines. All the licenses of our hot air balloon pilots are issued by DGCA, the company is operating under AOP issued from DGCA, Ministry of Civil Aviation, the hot air balloon has a valid Airworthiness Review Certificate, the balloon is endorsed on company's AOP, maintenance of the balloon is done periodically by a certified engineer, licensed by DGCA, the balloon has VT number clearly mentioned on two sides of the balloon,” he elaborated.
“We are working on adding more destinations, we will disclose the details as and when we are ready for the launch once the permissions have come through. We are also exploring more destinations with varied story-telling facets so as to provide exclusive experiential experiences from up in the sky. The impetus right now is on developing tourism products that are sensitized for domestic travellers and adventure enthusiasts,” concluded Thakore. Currently, Skywaltz also operates hot air balloon safaris over Jaipur, Pushkar and Neemrana.
MP Tourism, along with Skywaltz, launched the hot air balloon wildlife safari at Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve to revive the State’s tourism and attract visitors post pandemic