Following Indian travel and tourism sector acquiring the 7th position in the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) chart, Railways is now spearheading initiatives to ensure that it doesn't lose its momentum.
Indian Railways is now mulling on introducing special trains to cater to tourists across the country as well as overseas.
Once in motion, this could accrue sizeable revenue for the government coffers.
Indian Railways rejigging itself to bolster tourism
Railways' new proposals on the anvil to improve tourist service
Indian Railways is planning to introduce a train service that is entirely dedicated to domestic and international tourists with the aid of public-private partnership model it has been veering towards lately.
Different tariffs will be worked out for the trains that "will comprise different classes of accommodation like Sleeper 3A, 2A and 1A coaches, as per demand," said the IR.
Striving towards providing a better experience
This policy also aims to bolster railways' bid to increase dependency on a public-private partnership to provide better services to its users.
"The IR will operate the train on different circuits with a normal tariff or with a markup," read the statement.
Railways is also planning on roping in IRCTC to manage services such as hotel reservations and sightseeing for domestic and overseas tourists.
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How would the special trains operate under the new policy?
Under the revised plan, IR is planning to have special coaches on trains that travel through major tourist-nodes across the country and auction them to the tourist operators.
It's also looking into increasing the number and frequency of the hill tourist trains.
Bharat Darshan Trains with reasonable fares will also be unveiled soon to provide "telescopic benefit for the entire trip" to tourists.
Religious tourism also set to get a boost
In order to promote religious tourism, IR is planning to bring Astha Circuit Trains and State Tirth Trains.
Astha Circuit Trains will be operated by the IR entirely, while in the case of the latter "IRCTC will offer value-added service to make it an all-inclusive tour package, the way the State government desires. The entire cost will be borne by the State Governments concerned."
India's present status on the global platform
Earlier this month India's travel and tourism sector became 7th in the world and it also became the fastest growing travel and tourism sector amongst G20 countries.
Also, it jumped 12 places to become the 40th among 136 nations in World Economic Forum's (WEF's) travel and tourism competitiveness index. It was the largest leap that any country made into the top 50.
The fastest and the slowest
New Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi Express is the fastest train in India, which clocks a maximum speed of 150km/h on the Faridabad-Agra section and the slowest is Metupalayam Ooty Nilgiri Passenger, which runs at a speed of 10kmph, 15 times slower than the fastest one.