Global meltdown hits ‘Royal’ train
The prestigious Royal Rajasthan on Wheels , the most expensive luxury train in India, with fares ranging from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 7 lakh, which began its maiden journey on January 11 with much fanfare, is already racking up huge losses, reports Darpan Singh.india Updated: Jan 31, 2009 21:12 IST
The prestigious Royal Rajasthan on Wheels (RRoW), the most expensive luxury train in India, with fares ranging from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 7 lakh, which began its maiden journey on January 11 with much fanfare, is already racking up huge losses.
The super-luxury train, which has a capacity of 82 passengers, made its inaugural run through tourist attractions in Agra and Rajasthan with just 23 passengers on board.
Confirming this to HT, a senior railway official said on Saturday: “Despite the Rs 40-crore investment in the train, we had to cancel the second tour for want of passengers and ran the third with just eight persons on board.”
He said this had a lot to do with a slump in tourist arrivals as a result of the global economic meltdown and the recent terror attacks in Mumbai.
At a high-profile meeting of the National Tourism Advisory Council, Union tourism minister Ambika Soni recently expressed concern over the dwindling numbers. “We will have to work together to support the industry,” she said.
The government is naturally worried. India earned Rs 44,000 crore in revenues from tourism last year but a projected 20 per cent drop this year would mean a Rs 8,800-crore loss.
The government had advertised the seven-day tour through Rajasthan and Agra on the luxury RRoW as an experience to be cherished forever. The train is primarily targeted at foreign tourists.
It starts from New Delhi and travels through Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Sawai Madhopur, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Bharatpur, Agra and finally back to New Delhi. Now, the authorities have appointed general sales agents all over the world to push sales and attract tourists.