Now, companies can board 'Golden Chariot' their own way

To encourage more tourists to travel by Golden Chariot, the state-owned luxury express train, the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) will offer tailor-made trips to private companies. Companies can book the train and decide the number of days they want to halt at a particular destination and the number of destinations they want to cover.

The focus is on marketing. “Besides doing roadshows in other states and abroad, we have held many meetings with companies which host vacation outings and out-of-office meetings. In order to increase bookings, especially from the corporate sector, we are offering them tailor-made pre-defined routes.

We will give them the freedom to change their routes, the number of days they want to stay in a particular destination and the places they want to visit. But this will be given only when the whole train is booked,” Harsha P S, Managing Director, KSTDC, told Deccan Herald.

For the first six months, the train will ply on the scheduled route, and for the remaining six months, it will ply the way companies want. Although this service will start in March next, inquiries and bookings have already started. “The number of bookings have gone up over the years, but not as much as was expected. It’s an upward rise but we need further boost,” he added.

Besides, this year the KSTDC gave travellers the option of spending four nights and three days on board instead of spending all the seven days, covering Kabini, Mysuru, Belur and Halebeedu. After the offer was introduced, the number of bookings have increased, according to Harsha.

Golden Chariot offers eight-day seven-night travel to tourists and covers Kabini, Mysuru, Shravanabelagola, Belur, Halebeedu, Hampi, Badami, Pattadakal and Goa. Indian tourists are charged Rs 22,000 per person per night for single occupancy, while international travellers have to pay $754 per person per day for the trip.

Fares for any of the new services have not been changed. However, the fares may be increased from 2015 onwards because the Indian railways is increasing the operational costs. This is likely to burden the tourists travelling by Golden Chariot and Southern Splendour. The new fares have yet to be fixed.

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