Golden Chariot operators hopeful of bulk bookings by foreign tourists

t least 20 to 25 cabins of The Golden Chariot are expected to be booked in bulk for international tourists on every trip for the next two years from January 2013 with Great Rail Journeys, the United Kingdom’s largest operators of holidays by train, agreeing to promote the train among its clients.

Disclosing this to The Hindu , project director of The Golden Chariot, the luxury train run by the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation, Srinivas M. said, “It’s very a positive development that Britain’s largest railway tour operator has come forward to promote our luxury train. The tour operator’s bulk bookings are expected to start from January. We foresee that half of the train will be booked for its clients on every trip.”

Mr. Srinivas said the tour operator’s marketing might further increase the train’s popularity across the world.

Palace on Wheels of Rajasthan is among the luxury trains in India that get bookings from Europe’s train tour operators. The Golden Chariot is the third luxury train launched in the country after Palace on Wheels and Maharashtra’s Deccan Odyssey. The train’s first commercial run began on March 10, 2008. It completed its 100th trip last week.

‘Immense potential’

Arguing that The Golden Chariot has immense potential to become India’s most popular luxury train by 2014, Mr. Srinivas said its itinerary was very attractive. The train has managed to attract domestic travellers due to aggressive marketing. It had 100 per cent occupancy (with all its 40 cabins being occupied) on its 100th trip with 75 per cent of the passengers being domestic travellers.

“The train’s average occupancy is between 40 to 45 per cent, and we are expecting to break even next year,” he said, and added that the train had bookings till April 2013.

To a query, he said the occupancy rate had been almost steady since the launch. “It takes some time for any project to make profit. The train’s operational costs are high as haulage charge of Rs. 30 lakh per trip is paid to the Railways,” he said.

The Golden Chariot was prominently discussed at the South Indian Chief Ministers’ Conference which concluded in Bangalore recently, he said. “If the States join hands, the luxury train can travel across south India. The proposal of joint promotion of the train was discussed at the conference.”

Besides Karnataka, the luxury train now takes tourists to popular destinations in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. Talks were on to include some destinations in Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Srinivas added.

Published in: on November 25, 2012 at 8:23 am  Leave a Comment  

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