Kahini Chakraborty – Mumbai
The Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has diversified into offering outbound and domestic tour packages. As far as outbound tours are concerned, the corporation already has stabilised itself in four countries – Dubai, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. Speaking to Express TravelWorld, Rahul Himalian, additional general manager, IRCTC informed, “IRCTC is now looking at exploring and developing long itinerary packages for new destinations – Europe (eight days/seven nights or 12 days/11 nights), Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Greece, South Africa, Mauritius. Later in the last quarter the corporation will also tap South American and North American countries.”
Reasoning the diversification plan, he said, “We are a government company so tourists booking their packages have more faith on government owned services. For our foreign tours, we are competing with Thomas Cook, Cox & Kings and have already got an established client list of senior citizens.”
On the domestic front, IRCTC is also entering into MoUs with various state governments. “With Madhya Pradesh we crossed the figure of more than 100 trains which we started from September 3 this year. The eastern zone is doing Chhattisgarh while the north zone is doing Rajasthan. We are also looking at doing the same with Maharashtra and Gujarat,” Himalian added.
The corporation has also developed various coach related programmes. Himalian informed, “We are running Tirupati chartered coach every Friday from Mumbai which facilitates Mumbai and Pune travellers. We have crossed the 1000 persons figure last year. We are also looking at Bengaluru, Mysore, Ooty, Kerala and Hyderabad.”
“We are trying to tie-up with Ramoji Film City. So around 20 packages are being developed for domestic tourism which are coach based and berth based including Malwan, Ganapatipule, Shirdi, Tirupati, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh. Besides this, we run trains – like the Dakshin Darshan from Ahmedabad which covers seven cities – Tirupati, Goa,Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, Madurai, Trivandrum and Kovalam. It carries 1000 persons at one time,” he added.
|Companion travel free offer on Buddhist Circuit special train|
|IRCTC has come up with an exclusive offer for Indian nationals to experience the rich culture and spiritual heritage of India and travel in the footsteps of Lord Buddha. IRCTC has introduced a companion travel free offer for Indian nationals travelling on the national tourism award winning – Mahaparinirvan Express – Buddhist Circuit special train for trip commencing on October 5, 2013. The all inclusive price for two people would now be Rs 70, 000 for AC First Class and Rs 57,000 for AC Two Tier Class.|
This comprehensive tour package of seven nights/ eight days begins and ends at Delhi Safdarjung railway station. The package includes journey by an exclusive tourist train, hotel accommodation, road transportation in AC Deluxe buses, all meals, sightseeing, entrance fee, tour guide service, travel insurance, onboard security, etc. The journey covers world famous Bodhgaya, Nalanda, Rajgir, Sarnath, Varanasi, Kushinagar, Lumbini (Nepal) Sravasti and Agra. Tourist and pilgrims from over 30 countries have travelled on this special train in the last six years and have enjoyed the unmatched hospitality offered by IRCTC. Ideal for persons looking for Buddhist pilgrimage in India.