Skydive the Beach in Wollongong just purchased Byron Bay Ballooning in Byron Bay in its ongoing mission to become the world’s largest adventure tourism provider.
“Founded in 1999 by a pair of optimistic young mates, Skydive Australia has grown from the small beachfront operation of Skydive the Beach Sydney in Wollongong NSW, using a single six-seater Cessna 206, to a company with eighteen premium drop zones Australia wide – and more planned,” says its website.
Since 2015, Skydive Australia has added Australia Skydive and NZone Skydive, Skydive Wanaka and Raging Thunder Adventures and Reef Magic Cruises to its roster.
Chief executive Anthony Ritter said Byron Bay Ballooning is not the company’s first experience with ballooning.
“Raging Thunder Adventures in Cairns is white water rafting, hot air ballooning, inner barrier reef tours, sea kayaking, and canoeing. And in May just gone we bought Reef Magic Cruises which is taking people out to the outer barrier reef in one of those big pontoons.”
Ritter said his organization is looking for worldwide opportunities to solidify its current adventure services in Byron Bay, where it has operated Skydive Byron Bay, a tandem skydiving company, since 2005.
Ritter hopes the two businesses will attract new tourists and thrill-seekers who want to experience the breathtaking beauty of Byron Bay from above. Each year, approximately 3,000 people visit Byron Bay Ballooning. The company will be relocating to Skydive the Beach headquarters in Byron Bay, though it will continue to be managed in Wollongong where its customer service center is located.
“The past two years have seen Skydive the Beach expand significantly,” Ritter said.
The company hopes to continue increasing its offering of sports and flight experiences.
“There is potential everywhere in all adventure tourism. We are certainly looking at a lot of expansion plans. In 2010, we were just a drop zone in Wollongong. We have grown a lot in seven years. We are looking all over the world. We made that comment that we want to be the largest and most respected in the world so we have to branch out not just in Australia and New Zealand. We are looking at a number of opportunities overseas in all adventure tourism.”
Ritter revealed that the company’s year-end performance will be reviewed in its annual report, which is due out at the end of the month.
Anthony Boucaut, the company’s managing director, believes Byron Bay Ballooning provides an attractive new asset in a pioneering adventure sports location.
According to its website, “Byron Bay Ballooning is a local family owned and operated business, formed with the intention of offering everyone the magnificent experience of flying in a hot air balloon over Australia’s most beautiful landscape.
“Our Chief Pilot Thomas Dattler is the 2011 & 2012 Australian Ballooning Champion and has been flying balloons over the Byron Bay area since 2005. Before that, he was a flying instructor for airplanes. Along with Senior Pilot Chris Dewhirst and his team of highly qualified professional pilots and enthusiastic, friendly and helpful crew, they will ensure that this experience of a lifetime will be a safe and wonderful one from beginning to end.”