IRCTC’s international packages to woo middle income, desi travellers

Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corp (IRCTC), which recorded a revenue of Rs 11,500 crore last year with tourism accounting for Rs 500 crore is now eyeing a share in the travel operators pie in India, challenging the likes of Makemytrip and Yatra with its new and economy-segment targeted international tour packages.
IRCTC’s international packages to woo middle income, desi travellers
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As per an official, the IRCTC has come up with a bouquet of services, encompassing air and train travel as well as holiday packages to Indian and international destinations.
The official says, “Currently, we offer packages to US, China and countries in South East Asia, Middle East and Europe. We plan to launch packages to Australia and New Zealand this October. We have rail packages starting from Rs 800 per night, going up to Rs 60,000 per night (on the Maharaja super luxury trains). From next month, the Maharaja will be started in South India, in Kerala, and it will traverse Tamil Nadu en route to Mumbai.” 
Informed sources tell us that the Bharat Darshan trains, are also seeing a major traction with several trains halting at TN.  The officer says that the Chief Minister’s Astha/Bharat Darshan Special Tourist Trains, which are fully sponsored by the various state governments to facilitate pilgrimages for senior citizens in the economically challenged sections, are seeing a great response. 
He says, “About 80 to 100 trains, with a capacity of 1,000 passengers, traverse various pilgrim circuits across the length and breadth of India annually. South Indian destinations such as Rameswaram, Madurai, Kanyakumari and Tirupati are among the most visited religious centres, with 30 to 40 such trains coming here annually. Rajasthan, Punjab, UP, MP, Maharashtra have already put this scheme into place.” 
Pilgrimage tourism makes up for 70 per cent of tourism in India. The southern zone contributes Rs 35-40 crore annually to IRCTC annually for tourism. The official believes there are great opportunities in tourism for the state to leverage. He says, “In the last 3 years, TN has seen the highest inflow of international and domestic tourists. TN is very popular among low and mid segment travellers in East and North Indian pilgrimage travellers,” he sums up.

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