A tourism operator is talking to Colombia’s national authorities to see if it is possible to build a helicopter pad near the Lost City, ancient pre-Columbian ruins that now require a six-day trek to visit.
Colombian tourism mogul Jean Claude Bessudo, the boss of the country’s biggest travel agent Aviatur, told newspaper El Tiempo that he hopes to establish a helicopter service from the Caribbean city of Santa Marta to a landing site six minutes walking from the 2,800-year-old remnants of the Tairona city.
“It would be a service for those tourists who don’t have much time or the physical condition” to walk 30 miles through dense tropical jungle, said Bessudo.
“The entire world deserves to know the wonders of the Lost City,” which is why he asked the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History to locate a site near to the Lost City where helicopters can land without affecting the local scenery and ecosystems too much.
However, in order to create the helicopter landing pad a number of trees need to be cut from the jungle that’s considered both a World Heritage site, and enjoys special protection as a sacred site for local indigenous peoples and a nature reserve.
“It’s nine trees,” claimed the tourism mogul, “but we are willing to sow whatever necessary trees” to compensate the loss to nature.
“Fortunately, there are millions and millions of trees in the Sierra” Nevada, the mountain range where the lost city remained hidden until its discovery in 1972.
Moreover, “we absolutely respect of the ancestral peoples, their traditions and their territory. The idea is to work together” with the local indigenous inhabitants of the region.
Bessudo’s Aviatur has been talking with top government officials to see if he can get the necessary permits to cut down the trees and construct his helipad.
National Parks director Julia Miranda acknowledged the tourist potential of a more easily reachable Lost City, but stressed that this would require the blessing of the local indigenous peoples and her institution.
“From a environmental and ancestral perspective I don’t think it is very viable,” said Miranda, “because I know that these things benefit the tourism agencies, but not the community.”