Flu fear affects Golden Chariot's run

Flu fear affects Golden Chariot's run

At least 20 per cent foreigners cancel their bookings for September and October

Booking agents of the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC), spread across the globe, have reported a 20 per cent cancellation of tickets that had been booked for  September and October. The trend is likely to continue, or even decline further, until the spread of the swine flu subsides in India.

The present period is an off-season for the Golden Chariot, a weekly train. “The tourist season picks up during mid-September and October and it is unfortunate that the fear of the swine flu has spread now. “The cancellations will impact the profitability of the train,” said Vinay Luthra, Managing Director (MD), KSTDC. KSTDC has undertaken steps to convince potential passengers about the measures it has taken to prevent the virus from spreading. “Brochures highlighting them have been passed to our agents,” the MD said.

Measures adopted
The measures adopted now include training the staff on board about hygiene and other preventive aspects. Guides and other service providers have been cautioned. Brochures bearing tips to prevent and detect the virus are handed over to tourists too during the journey. “Though there are no doctors on board, we have tied up with doctors across the State, who will rush to the nearby station in case of any emergency.”

 The train has the capacity to carry 98 passengers per trip. To a query if tourists would be screened for the virus, Luthra said, “We cannot really do that but the staff are on the alert for symptoms of the virus manifesting itself on anyone.” 

The seven-night train tour starts every Monday from Bangalore and stops at places of tourist interest at Kabini, Bandipur, Mysore, Hassan, Hospet, Badami and Goa before returning to City. The train is not run on a weekly basis during lean periods. The previous run was on July 24 and the next trip will be on September 7.