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KTDC, Rlys tie up to boost tourism

Our Bureau

MUMBAI, Dec. 30

IN AN EFFORT to tide over the fall in foreign tourist traffic post-September 11, the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) and Indian railways have teamed up to introduce package tours to holiday destinations in Kerala.

KTDC, along with IR, will introduce special coaches in Kerala-bound trains from various destinations in India.

As a pilot project, a special three-tier air conditioned railway coach attached to the Thiruvananthapuram-bound Netravati Express was flagged off by Mr O Rajagopal, Minister of State, Railways, here today.

`` We would welcome other State tourism authorities coming up with such projects. And plan to offer more such schemes in the near future,''Mr rajagopal said.

`` This was conceived in the backdrop the September attacks after which western tourists' inflow fell drastically. Tour operators panicked after airlines cancelled flights to India and business was affected,''Dr K Elangovan, Managing Director, KTDC told Business Line.

Passengers in the coach will be offered 10-day package tours including stay at three, four or five star hotels, food and travel through five main tourist destinations in South Kerala.

`` Over 260 million tourists visit India every year. The numbers have fallen drastically in the last couple of months. Instead 380 million Indians travel outside India. We decided to tap this section,''Dr Elangovan said.

The scheme is presently targeted at upper middle-class travellers, he said. After Mumbai, KTDC plans to introduce special coaches in Kerala-bound trains from Ahmedabad and Pune.

KTDC expects revenues of up to Rs 4.5 crore per year from every such project, he said.

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