Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Sep 06, 2005
Industry & Economy
Logistics - Railways
Rajasthan to roll out 2 more luxury trains
A folk dancer performing at a press conference n Kolkata on Monday. A. Roy Chowdhury
Kolkata , Sept. 5
SPURRED by the success of the Palace on Wheels, the Government of Rajasthan has drawn up plans to introduce two more luxury trains on the lines of the Palace on Wheels to further promote the growth of tourism in the State.
To facilitate access to less-visited tourist destinations, several airstrips in the State are also being made operational.
Ms Usha Punia, Rajasthan's Minister for Tourism, told newspersons here that the two new trains would have packages that would be cheaper than that on offer from the Palace on Wheels, where rates hover round Rs 17,000 per person per night.
Rates for the Royal Orient Express, which proposes to commence operations by next month, would be pegged at around Rs 10,000 per person per night. It would offer five-night trips ex-Delhi and cover places of tourist interest such as Shekhawati, Bikaner, Ajmer and Chittor.
Ms Punia said talks have been initiated with the Ministry of Railways to acquire the Deccan Queen Express and run it on the tourist circuit.
She said the State is attempting to diversify its product offerings to ensurethat the average tourist spends more time in the State than two-and-a-half days currently.
The potential of rural tourism would be harnessed towards this end. Already, work on infrastructure creation has begun in 20 villages across the State.
According to her, Rajasthan is focused on facilitating a greater role for the private sector in the State's tourism arena.
Policy initiatives are being taken to facilitate the setting up of new hotels that are required to accommodate the increasing number of tourists.
"One out of every three visitors who lands in Delhi comes to Rajasthan", Ms Punia said and presented a strong case for upgrading Jaipur as an international airport.
In 2004-05, Rajasthan attracted 1.6-crore domestic tourists and 9.72-lakh foreign tourists.
In the current fiscal, the State hopes to attract two-crore domestic tourists and 12-lakh foreign tourists.
It has set aside Rs 24 crore for promotion of tourism in 2005-06.
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