Indian Railways is planning to spread rail-based tourism among masses through leasing of coaching stock to interested parties to run them as theme based cultural, religious and other tourist circuit train.
“To tap the potential of tourism sector and to leverage the core strengths of the professionals of tourism sector in tourism activities like marketing, hospitality, integration of services, reach with customer base, expertise in development identification of tourist circuits, etc,” according to a statement by the Ministry of Railways.
Broad features of the Proposed Model :-
Leasing of coaches as per desired configuration of interested parties. Bare shells may also be taken on lease. Outright purchase of coaches can also be done.
Minor refurbishment of coaches is permitted.
Leasing to be done for a minimum period of 5 years and extendable till codal life of coaches.
Minimum train composition for leasing purpose as per policy guidelines.
Interested party to develop/decide business model (routes, itinerary, tariff etc).
Simple registration process for interested parties based on eligibility criteria.
Indian Railways will levy haulage charges, nominal stabling charges and lease charges. (No lease charges for outright purchase).
Other Features :
Priority in punctuality.
Timely approvals for coach refurbishment and itineraries.
No haulage for maintenance runs.
Third-party advertising allowed inside the train, Branding of train permitted.
“India has the potential to attract the right share of travellers and to increase the tourism contribution to India’s overall GDP. Besides other factors in the post-pandemic era, railway infrastructure for eg. Vistadome will be a differentiator for attracting quality tourism from overseas and within India,” said Vishnu Sudarsan, Partner, J Sagar Associates.
He further added that better infrastructure will help in attracting investments.
“Vistadome coaches have the potential to unlock the traffic potential on tourism routes and destinations which in pre COVID situation were slowly being put out of play by Indian Railway.
Vistadome coaches have the potential to unclock tourism demand and is a natural integrator into the overall package for private sector privatisation, for e.g. mountain railway, which is currently being contemplated.
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